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Pinxton Nursery School

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Personal, Social and Emotional Development



Who we are, how we get along with others and how we feel are the foundations of our lives. As we move through life, we develop our sense of self; make relationships with others and the world.

Personal, social and emotional development (P.S.E.D) is essential for success later in life. Early relationships have a great influence on how children develop. Close, secure attachment is important to children’s healthy development. Positive relationships support well-being and development of self-regulation. P.S.E.D supports children to interact effectively and to have positive attitudes and self-belief. At Pinxton Nursery School, we intend children to feel safe, relaxed and loved. Regular patterns of routines and activities foster a sense of security and self-confidence.



P.S.E.D is developed through a holistic approach. Within our continuous provision and nursery environment, we are able to develop children’s skills and knowledge. Through the environment, the child builds trusting relationships with key adults.

Our staff model good relationships and ensure that children’s emotional needs are met by drawing on their own emotional insight and by working in partnership with families. The school ensures that relationships with our families are mutual, respectful and warm, which we believe is the key to each child’s development.


In Birth to 5 Matters, P.S.E.D is split into 3 areas:


Sense of Self is about how children develop confidence in who they are and what they can do and in expressing their own ideas. Our key worker system allows all children to have one person who is focussed on helping each child to thrive, helping the child to feel valued and special, giving them a feeling of self-worth. 


Understanding Emotions is about how children understand their own and others' feelings, and learning how to manage these feelings effectively. It is also about learning and following rules that operate in different places. 


Making Relationships is about how children learn to get along with others, seeing things from different viewpoints and taking that into account in their play. It is vital in forming friendships. Adults in the setting work as role models, showing children how to be kind and to understand why others may behave in different ways, such as saying sorry for hurting another person's feelings. 



Children leave nursery with the skills needed to develop friendships with their peers and with adults. They have a strong belief in themselves and their abilities and are confident to start school. 


Area of P.S.E.D

When children enter our Nursery they are able to

When children leave our Nursery they are able to

Making Relationships

  • Explores the environment, interacts with others and plays confidently while their parent/carer or key person is close by; using them as a secure base to return to for reassurance if anxious or in unfamiliar situations
  • Shows empathy by offering comfort that they themselves would find soothing, i.e. their dummy
  • Enjoys playing alone and alongside others and is also interested in being together and playing with other children
  • Will often watch, follow and imitate each other in their play and will experiment with influencing others, co-operating together and also resisting coercion in their interactions
  • Asserts their own ideas and preferences and takes  notice of other people’s responses
  • Will sometimes experience long periods of social  engagement as overwhelming and may withdraw or collapse with frustration
  • Seeks out companionship with adults and other children, sharing experiences and play ideas
  • Uses their experiences of adult behaviours to guide their social relationships and interactions
  • Shows increasing consideration of other people’s needs and gradually more impulse control in favourable conditions, e.g. giving up a toy to another who wants it
  • Practices skills of assertion, negotiation and compromise and looks to a supportive adult for help in resolving conflict with peers
  • Enjoys playing alone, alongside and with others,

inviting others to play and attempting to join

others’ play

Sense of Self

  • Is aware of and interested in their own and others’ physical characteristics, pointing to and naming features such as noses, hair and eyes
  • Experiments with what their bodies can do through setting themselves physical challenges, e.g. pulling a large truck upstairs
  • Begins to use me, you and I in their talk and to show awareness of their social identity of gender, ethnicity and ability.
  • Shows their growing sense of self through asserting their likes and dislikes, choices, decisions, and ideas. These may be different to those of the adult or their peers; often saying no, me do it or mine
  • Is becoming more aware of the similarities and differences between themselves and others in more detailed ways and identifies themself in relation to social groups and to their peers
  • Is sensitive to others’ messages of appreciation or criticism
  • Enjoys a sense of belonging through being involved in daily tasks
  • Is aware of being evaluated by others and begin to develop ideas about  themselves according to the messages they hear from others
  • Shows their confidence and self-esteem through being outgoing towards people, taking risks and trying new things or new social situations and being able to express their needs and ask adults for help

Understanding Emotions

  • Expresses positive feelings such as joy and affection and negative feelings such as anger, frustration and distress, through actions, behaviours and a few words
  • Experiences a wide range of feelings with great intensity, such as anger and frustration, which can be overwhelming and result in losing control of feelings, body and thinking
  • Is aware of others’ feelings and is beginning to show empathy by offering a comfort object to another child or sharing in another child’s excitement
  • Asserts their own agenda strongly and may display frustration with having to comply with others’ agendas and with change and boundaries
  • Expresses a wide range of feelings in their interactions with others and through their behaviour and play, including excitement and anxiety, guilt and self-doubt
  • May exhibit increased fearfulness of things like the dark or monsters etc and possibly have nightmares
  • Talks about how others might be feeling and responds according to their understanding of the other person’s needs and wants
  • Is more able to recognise the impact of their choices and behaviours/actions on others and knows that some actions and words can hurt others’ feelings
  • Understands that expectations vary depending on different events, social situations and changes in routine, and becomes more able to adapt their behaviour in favourable conditions



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