PSE in the Early Years Reviews

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Personal, Social and Emotional Development of Children in the Early Years

‘Recent directives from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) have emphasised the importance of ensuring that the personal, social and emotional needs of pupils are identified and addresses by schools.

This short book provides a readable framework of the main issues concerned and covers briefly all aspects that will need consideration by those working in early years settings.

It explores assessment, a range of strategies to encourage the development of appropriate skills and discourage inappropriate ones. Hannah Mortimer, an educational psychologist, offers advice that is practical and would provide a useful introduction to this area.’

Reviewed in (Special Needs Information Press) SNIP (2001)

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‘This accessible little book provides a useful introduction to personal, social and emotional development for early years practitioners and parents. It successfully integrates practical strategies with some theoretical perspectives.

The book's four chapters emphasize the teaching and learning cycle that supports social and emotional development in young children. Chapter 1 focuses on assessing the stage of development and individual needs of each child, Chapter 2 developing programmes to meet these needs, Chapter 3 developing and implementing individual programmes to support children who are perceived as having behavioural difficulties, and Chapter 4 monitoring, evaluating, reporting and assessing progress.

The central role of social and emotional development in the early years is warmly explored and linked to daily routines, while examples give practical recognition to the powerful role that spoken language has in enabling children to achieve context appropriate behaviour.

Interpretation of situations frequently experienced in pre-school settings, e.g. what prevents children doing as they are asked, encourages reflection on the child's stage of development and its ability to understand exactly what is required. This positive problem-solving approach entails precise observation for which Mortimer recommends practical schedules easily incorporated into early years settings.

The useful addresses section at the end of the book was helpful but reference to AFASIC would have been welcomed, given the growing awareness of links between language, social, emotional development and behaviour. Equally, the range of further reading could have challenged the reader with a broader selection of texts, maybe introducing the work of the nurture group movement (Bennathan and Boxall, 2000).

Overall, this book will be welcomed by those embarking on a career in early years education and will prove to be a valuable addition to the staff library in most pre-school settings.’

Reviewed in Child Language Teaching and Therapy 18(2), 2002

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More about the author, Hannah Mortimer