EYFS Explained: PSED

In the next series of our blogs, we will be taking an in depth look into each area of the seven areas of learning and development and talking about and demonstrating how we support the children’s learning and development in each area and the benefits this has. We will look at each area from a home-based childcare perspective, an early years setting as a whole and talk about how these activities or ones similar can be adapted and used at home to develop continuity across the child’s experiences and environments.

We will first be looking at the specific areas of learning (the three areas of learning and development aimed at the under two’s), starting with, in our opinion, the most important; Personal Social and Emotional Development (PSED).

PSED refers to helping children to develop a positive self-image, developing positive relationships and developing respect, understanding and compassion for others, in addition to learning social skills and etiquette and how to manage and understand their own feelings, learning what is appropriate behaviour and to have confidence in themselves and their abilities.

In Early Years, PSED underpins everything we do, and ultimately, if children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development isn’t nurtured and supported, the other areas of learning will be affected, and so it is essential we adequately support the children in developing their PSED.

There are no real ‘activities’ to be done in order to support PSED; PSED is everywhere and in everything we do. From the earliest stages of teaching a baby to wave, responding to babies cries and introducing a baby to new people, you are supporting a child’s PSED. As the child grows and we teach them manners, self care such as ticketing and hand washing, encourage them to do things for themselves, show consideration and kindness for others and take-turns and share resources; we are helping to develop each child’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development.

In both home-based childcare settings and other types of Early Years Provisions alike, our PSED routines are very similar; for example promoting children’s independence in tasks, supporting their developing relationships and role-modelling positive behaviour, turn-taking and sharing, providing praise and encouragement during tasks and supporting children in learning about, exploring and understanding their own emotions and feelings. All of which can be replicated at home.


As childcare professionals and parents alike it is essential that we provide children with adequate support, a range of experiences and interactions and opportunities to explore and develop their PSED, not only to continually support and develop their progress within the other 6 areas of learning, but also to support them in becoming confident, well-rounded and considerate young people.


Personal, Social and Emotional Development is the foundation of the child’s life and learning experiences and so is essential that this is at the forefront of all of our decisions so that by the time the child is ready to transition to school they:

-“Are Confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They are confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities and say when they do or don’t need help.”

-“Can talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

-“Can play co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.” 

(EYFS: Development Matters – Early Learning Goals) 

For more information on PSED and the different developmental stages and what to expect within each age band, click here.


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