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Personal, Social and Emotional Development

Personal, social and emotional development (PSED) is one of three prime areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), but it connects the whole curriculum. Through positive relationships with adults, children learn what their emotions are, how to regulate them and how relationships with their peers work. 

During the coronavirus pandemic the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, About Us | Who We Are and What we do at The Anna Freud Centre, conducted research studies exploring the impact of the restrictions on children’s PSED with over 900 childcare staff, and parents, to understand their experiences and those of children in their care. This concluded that the pandemic has adversely impacted on young children’s PSED in 7 ways:  

  1. Greater separation anxiety and issues in forming relationships with staff  
  2. Children becoming more emotional, and a difficulty with managing their emotions  
  3. Children exhibiting more disruptive and challenging behaviour  
  4. Children experiencing greater issues socialising  
  5. Children developing an obsession with cleaning hands, a fear of germs and the virus  
  6. Children being upset over lost connections to family and friends, including 12% becoming bereaved  
  7. Children experiencing various developmental delays and/or regressions  

As research shows that it is interested, playful and consistent adult that makes the biggest impact on a child’s development in all areas the Anna Freud Centre have developed the following booklets to help support children's Personal, Social and emotional development.

Further information can be found at:

Personal, social and emotional development (