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Personal social and emotional development across the Early Years

03 November 2017

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What does personal, social and emotional development actually mean?

  • Personal development is about how children come to understand who they are and what they can do.
  • Social development covers how children come to understand themselves in relation to others, how they make friends, understand the rules of society and behave towards others.
  • Emotional development concerns how children understand their own and others’ feelings and develop their ability to be empathetic – to see things from another person’s point of view.

The Early Years stage is well known for being a place where children learn for the very first time how to share, take turns and make friends. They may not have experienced some of these things before starting school, especially if they are an only child. But is this as easy as we think? The Early Years staff have been looking at how the children enter the classroom, what they say to each other and how these simple things may affect their feelings in class for the rest of the day.

Over the past week, we have been looking at some of the words that we use to make each other feel happy and maybe make our friends sad. We discussed how it made us feel when we made a friend sad by saying something unkind to them. Using the mirrors, we looked at our facial expressions. Everyone agreed that they did not like feeling sad and we all agreed to try and make each other feel happy in class instead. The children made a list of all the things that make them happy during the day, such as: sharing the toys or listening to what someone did before they arrived at school. We will add to this list as we go through the term.

To support your children with developing their social and emotional skills, we have started to explore a series of books by the author Donna Luck. These books follow a list of golden rules that are similar to the ones we use at school. This week, we started with the book ‘We Are Kind and Helpful…We Don’t Hurt Anybody’s Feelings’. It is a simple story about Elsa the Elephant who behaves badly by pushing her friends and upsetting them in different scenarios. The teacher needs some kind children to help look after a real rabbit that visits the class but she does not choose Elsa. This is because she observed her being unkind to her friends earlier in the week. Elsa learns a hard lesson but ends up proving by the end of the story that she can be trusted to be kind and helpful too.


“Let’s face it – it is only kindness that will ever make this world a better place.”

Quoted from the Jenny Mosley website.


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Friendships are so important to children and often lie at the heart of all their experiences and interactions. It is vitally important that we help your children to learn the social skills needed to interact successfully with others so that they are able to form good friendships in the future. Young children need lots of opportunities and encouragement to begin to look at the world from the perspective of others and to develop empathy which is not easy at this young age.



Here is a reminder of our Golden Rules at BVIS:




We are caring

Chúng tôi biết quan tâm

We look after our school

Chúng tôi chăm sóc cho ngôi trường của mình

We play well with others

Chúng tôi vui chơi cùng nhau

We learn together

Chúng tôi học tập cùng nhau

We listen

Chúng tôi biết lắng nghe

We are honest

Chúng tôi luôn trung thực


We encourage all the children to follow these rules at school. Please support the teachers by talking to your child about these rules and what they mean in their first language at home.

Please take a look at some of our class pictures. In the pictures, you can see shared learning, children listening to each other and teamwork, where they were able to build something even bigger and better together. These are all some of the qualities that we like to encourage and nurture at BVIS. I hope that this will help to make the Early Years a truly happy place to be!

Ms Julie Walton

Head of Early Years