What do we mean by personal development?
When we talk about Personal Development at this age, it might sound a little unnervingly like a chapter from a self-help book. However, in this context we are referring to all those vital little things that support a child's emotional and social well-being, both as they enter school and in the future. Gaining both the self-confidence to express oneself and the self-awareness to ask for help when they need it. being able to see the world from another's point of view. Making friends with others
Self-confidence and self-awareness
Every child is different, and as such they should not be judged against others when it comes to their self-confidence and self-awareness. However, as children get older they should be...
... confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They [will be] confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help. [Early Learning Goal]
As they move up to Year 1 children become more willing to talk with other children, both those that they are familiar with, and new friends. They will also begin to enjoy receiving praise and may even be excited to take on small responsibilities around the home and in the classroom.
This confidence and awareness will be expressed by posing questions and expressing opinions whenever there is the chance children should be listened to and given the time to formulate and express ideas without being spoken-over or cut-short.
Understanding feelings and behaviour
Understanding your feelings and emotions can be difficult at a young age. Even harder is controlling them when they could result in hurting someone else. Taking turns, adapting behaviours and inhibiting their own behaviours are all part of growing up at this age and children will begin to...
...talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.
The idea of actions having 'consequences' is a key idea that children begin to grapple with and by modelling behaviour, children at this age start to negotiate complex social problems which involve concepts of fairness and 'what is right'.
Whether your child prefers to play in a group, with their best friend or with an imaginary friend - at this stage of growing up it is important that children are initiating conversations and are enjoying coming up with ideas for play...
... co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.
Exploring the idea of friendship can be really fulfilling for a child as they learn some of the rules that glue groups together - and this can happen either by playing and exploring freely, or by providing more organised activities and learning opportunities. Getting to know people outside of their immediate comfort zone is an important and giving children the chance to operate in a number of different group sizes is extremely enriching at this age.
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