Early Years News and Events
Saturday 30th November 2019 – FOSS Christmas Fayre 11am
Tuesday 3rd December 2019 – Pre-School Nativity Play 9.30am
10th December 2019 – Tuesday Early Years Christmas Party and Magic Show
13th December 2019 – Friday- All departments close at 12noon
19th December 2019 – Thursday- Nursery Mince Pie and Mingle 2.30-3.30pm
20th December 2019 – Friday- Baby Unit Stay and Play 10-12noon
24th December 2019 – Tuesday- Baby unit and Nursery close at 1pm for Christmas
The site will be closed for the Christmas period, Tuesday 24th December 1.00pm – Wednesday 1st January inclusive (unless requested as holiday this period is payable) Babies and Nursery re-open on Thursday 2nd January.
This week I have chosen to talk about emotional development. The early years is the time when your child is establishing strong emotional ties with the people who are most important to them in their lives. It is a time too, when they are beginning to find out about themselves, their world, their feelings and those of the people around them. We generally know what the early physical milestones are for very young children, for example their first step and their first word because we can see and hear them but the emotional milestones are less clear cut. By paying attention to our children’s behaviour, we can gauge where their emotional development is ‘at’ and this helps us to understand how they are feeling and how they understand their world. This in turn helps us to better “tune in” and respond to what they need and to know that our feelings affect their feelings too. As with all milestones they are a guide only. Children are individuals and develop in their own way. They do not necessarily move through the milestones in a continuous progression but can move back and forth through the stages or stay for a while at a particular level. This is particularly true of the emotional milestones.
The Emotional Milestones Young Babies (0-6 months)
• After birth, young babies are getting used to life in the world and are learning to bond and develop trust with their main carers, yourselves.
• Young babies smile, cry, grasp, cling, suck, make eye contact and sucking movements with their mouth, and reach out to let you know they need care and loving.
• Young babies love face to face contact and being talked to – this helps them feel wanted and important and strengthens the bond with their family members and others.
• Young babies feel secure and cry less when held and cuddled. This will not spoil them but help them feel loved and safe.
• Young babies tell you when they need quiet time and calming by turning or looking away or when they are restless in your arms.
• As young babies develop they gradually are able to feel comfortable on their own for slightly longer periods and begin to entertain themselves.
The Emotional Milestones of Older Babies (7-18 months)
• Older babies gain pleasure form exploring their immediate world around them by touching, holding and putting things in their mouth.
• Older babies enjoy looking at you and what is happening around them.
• As their closeness to their families strengthens, older babies can become wary of people with whom they are familiar but don’t see as often (e.g. grandparents) as well as with strangers. Closeness and attention from their family will reassure them.
• Older babies are learning that they are a separate person from their mother(s) and /or father(s) by exploring the immediate world around them.
• Older babies can make connections between the look on a person’s face and the tone of their voice e.g. happy face and soft tone, anxious face and sharp tone.
• Older babies are beginning to manage their feelings by soothing themselves with thumb-sucking and other habits as well as distraction through play as they learn their main carers are not always instantly available.
• When we respond quickly, consistently and sensitively, older babies learn more quickly about their feelings and how to manage them.
The Emotional Milestones of Toddlers (18 months –3 years)
• Toddlers are becoming more independent and wanting their own way. They show extremes of behaviour from very independent to dependent, aggressive to calm, helpful to stubborn. These changes can happen quickly.
• Toddlers only understand the world from their point of view.
• Toddlers like to test the boundaries set by their main care givers to gain the reassurance that the boundaries (limit setting) are still there.
• Tantrums and other reactions to anger and frustration are common in toddlers.
• Toddlers respond well to comfort shown by cuddles, holding, stroking, patting,
calming and gentle tones and being in a quiet, comforting place.
• Toddlers express their feelings and are learning to manage their feelings through play.
• Toddlers are beginning to name feelings, e.g. happy, sad, angry, scared and to show interest in others’ feelings. Songs, games, stories and imaginative play helps toddlers to know more about feelings and the feelings of others.
• Toddlers are learning to link ‘cause and effect’ and are better able to remember from previous experiences the reason and causes for how they feel. This is helped when we can simply talk and explain about feelings at the time.
• Talking with toddlers before difficult events such as changes or separations helps them to manage their feelings and to feel secure and comforted.
The Emotional Milestones of Young Children (3-5 years)
• Young children are starting to play more with other children and may still get upset when left.
• Young children are becoming more confident and still like to seek the attention of their main care givers.
• Young children are starting to express their feelings in words more as well as through actions.
• Young children are beginning to show awareness of other people’s feelings and that these might be different from their own about the same situation.
• Young children are literal and magical in their thinking. They believe that wishes do come true so it is important for adults to use words carefully when speaking about important things.
Within Silverhill Early Years Department we consider children’s Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED), together. We plan and evaluate continually how we can support ever child to learn to get on with others and make friends, understand and talk about feelings, learn about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’, develop independence and ultimately feel good about themselves. The Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, 2017) places this as one of the three prime areas to consider and highlights what a huge impact it has on later well-being, learning achievement and economic success. Children’s early PSED has a huge impact on their later well-being, learning achievement and economic success too.
PSED doesn’t happen in isolation and children need us to provide them with positive feedback and to model appropriate behaviour. We appreciate the need to ensure your child is secure at Silverhill and we do this by creating a nurturing environment and having an effective key person system. Our routines reassure children as they begin to understand the structure of the day and predict what is coming next. This helps to alleviate anxiety. We also use visual timetables to support children who aren’t able to understand verbal prompts.
Children need to learn to recognise their feelings and learn the words to label them. They need us to show them different ways to manage their feelings and we use language to reinforce what we see. For example “I can see you are getting very frustrated with that toy – it’s not working properly is it? Let’s see if a cuddle might help and we can look at it together”. We can name the emotion for the child, provided some comfort as needed, and offer solutions to problems. By repeating this approach every day the child can learn to manage their feelings themselves. Sometimes we use a feelings box to help children become aware of a variety of emotions and vocabulary to explain them. We play, ‘fill a box’ with some favourite and unfamiliar objects. Relating it to objects they see in front of them allows us to talk to the children about what their likes/dislikes and why they might be feeling like that. We focus on reinforcing behaviour by acting as a role model and praising children who demonstrate wanted behaviours. This is much more effective than highlighting unwanted behaviours, as children often like the attention they’re getting when someone is cross with them. Talk is a very powerful tool and even the youngest of children, will respond when hearing their name or their copied babbling that tells them we are listening. We pay attention to babies’ non-verbal communication too. If they turn their head away, we understand that it may be a sign that they are tired and have had enough and can adapt what we are doing. Many children need adult input to play together. And may need help in take turns or to play activities, things like throwing bean bags into a box or building a tower and knocking it down, we always start with games they can confidently play to boost their confidence. Once they have learnt turn taking, we add a new skill such as playing a dice game that involves counting. Children often need us to join in to encourage and extend shared play. This begins to develop around three years old but lots of children need help modelling how to take on board other ideas and how to share toys. In line with parental wishes the setting encourage independence skills as soon as a child is capable. We work with you to agree on appropriate expectations such as feeding themselves or taking off and hanging up their coat. The Pre-School children love receiving their ‘coat certificates’ when they can tackle this alone. To help children become confident in themselves, we allow them freedom to make choices. We provide chances to explore different activities and toys that will build their confidence to tackle more complex activities as they grow. It’s normal for a child to show how they’re feeling through their behaviour. But if a child starts to excessively repeat the usual ways they show how they feel, they could be struggling with their emotional health. These signs may include an excessively short attention span, and aggressive or withdrawn behaviour.
If you have any concerns about your child’s PSED, always discuss this with us and we can work together. There could be many reasons why your child temporarily struggles emotionally including moving house, parents changing partners, more children or babies in the home or the death of a relative or pet. So remember please keep us informed.