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Social And Emotional Development

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Social and emotional development underpins effective learning, positive behaviour and the judgements they make in and out of school. Schools need to be places where emotions are accepted as normal, unthreatening, discussed freely, expressed safely strategies and support are written in statements and policies. A successful strategy that has been introduced into schools is SEAL, SEAL stands for social, emotional aspects of learning, and this is a school programme that focuses on the development and the application of social and emotional skills. Not only does SEAL consider the needs of the children but also all that work in the setting, providing support for them to implement the strategies that it highlights. It's important in the early years that practitioners understand that children develop at different rates; emotionally others are more mature than others. This is a similar situation for social development children that don't have enough social experiences from a young age are less likely to be social in a classroom due to lack of confidence. The theorist Bowlby is most famous for his attachment theory he devised the term 'maternal deprivation' (Bowlby, n.d.) this was because he believed that if children were separated from their mothers at young age then they would be psychology damaged (Squire, 2007) this supports the theory that without enough social attachment and experiences in the early stages of life then children are more likely to be unconfident in social situations and find it harder to adapting to school life. The EYFS believe that all children are ready to learn. The EYFS (2012, pp.2) states that 'Development is not an automatic process, however. It depends on each unique child having opportunities to interact with positive relationships and enabling environments' being a unique child emphasises more on the fact that children do develop at different rates. So having relationships with people and being in a encouraging environment helps develop children socially and emotionally, this is why it's essential practitioners and schools provide these are much as possible.

It is proven that in the 21st century children are more likely to worry about family, school, friendships from two decades ago (Blake, 2007). This is a worrying result because most people have the view that childhood should be carefree and trouble free. Schools have more pressure now more than ever to ensure that children have a safe and worry free environment to learn in. Social development is promoted in all child care settings, teachers are using group tasks more and involving children as much as possible, if they realise that a child is withdrawn then action is taken to involve this child such as talking to them and introducing new provisions such as a 'buddy system' at play times so children can always have someone to socialise with. However when it comes to emotional development, I haven't seen many provisions put into place to support this, some schools introduce schemes such as 'emotion sticks' in which the children place their name in the pot with the emotion that they are feeling that day, this quickly faded out because the children forgot and the practitioners forgot to remind the children that they need to do this, circle time is a popular way that schools choose to support emotional development, this is very effective in the early years, unfortunately not every school use circle time often because they don't have time and it won't fit into their curriculum so it's often put aside. One way in which some schools promote emotional and social development is interacting with the community in which they live in, this gives children the sense of belonging and a strong self-image, this in turn builds self-esteem, the higher their self-esteem is then the more confident the child will be, making the most of opportunities especially throughout the school, because they have already had the experience of being involved with the charity event or helping the elderly they will be more confident in the social aspect of new activities but also emotionally because they have more confidence in what they can do. The every child matters document supports this strategy, the ECM has a section titled 'make a positive contribution' helping the community is part of this.

There are several strategies that schools use to support emotional and social development, in order to keep these as effective as possible, the school need to review the strategies as often as needed to ensure that they are working, if a method isn't working then another is chosen and used in the school. This can be done by monitoring the children whilst they are taking part in the strategies to see how they are using them, if they are engaged and involving themselves in them then this is a good sign however if a couple of children don't feel comfortable or utilising the method as desired then a different approach may need to be taken. Reviewing the strategies every term is a good way to see how effective it is, another strategy can then be introduced in the next term, and once the method that is the most effective in the school for the pupils, teachers and parents then it can be used throughout the school, different age groups may also need different strategies, older children's emotional and social developmental needs will be different to the early years, this needs to be taken in consideration when planning approaches. Some schools may end up with 2 or 3 different methods being used in the school.

One of the most recent strategies that schools use to support emotional and social development is the healthy schools scheme. This was set up to promote healthy eating and exercise in schools, not only does this promote concentration in the classrooms but it involves children in activities organised by the school, the way in which the schools implement this strategy is up to them, some may decide to use Activate or Wake Up Shake Up in their school day or by introducing healthy snacks at break and lunch time. 'A Healthy School promotes the health and well­being of its pupils and staff through a well-planned, taught curriculum in a physical and emotional environment that promotes learning and healthy lifestyle choices' (Departement of Health, 2007) This strategy was more important than ever in 2012 due to the London Olympic Games, children wanted to be more active in and out of schools, so having sports days and Olympic challenges was an ideal way to promote healthy schools further. The walking and cycling provisions that some schools use, involve the children in the community as well as being sociable, this supports the emotional and social development of children. However not all schools provide strategies such as these, some schools don't have the funding whereas others don't see it as an important aspect

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