What’s the big deal about emotions?

Developing Self Regulation, Empathy and Confidence in self.

The more children interact, the more they need to be understood and, naturally, the more they need to understand others. That means, bit by bit, getting really good at learning about people who you don’t know so well, and often, who are not yet experts at expressing themselves. Babies start reading body language and facial expressions, as well as tone from an incredibly young age, recognising their mother’s face from birth to some expressions within the first few days. Babies are born primed for Connection and so this is vital for well-being, development, growth – and initially, for survival.

So what’s next? Learning to identify, name, and productively use your emotion in a way which is beneficial takes years (to maturity), so the early start children have is very important. Being responsive and loving (giving security, warm and positively attached care) means giving emotion and receiving the child’s. Emotional Intelligence is now recognised as being as important in Learning, and more important in the combination of Health and Learning.

babies connected babyBabies arrive already connected to other people.

They arrive in the world as persons, already interested in other people’s facial expressions, rhythms and movements. They are able to communicate.

They have brains that automatically read meaning in the actions of other people.

Babies arrive already connected to other people. They arrive in the world as persons, already interested in other people’s facial expressions, rhythms and movements. They are able to communicate.

They have brains that automatically read meaning in the actions of other people. These are some of the insights that we are gaining from sciences like developmental psychology and neuroscience.

We are learning that babies are born as engaged, relational beings.

They don’t develop social skills later on, such as when they begin to talk or become preschoolers. Their social skills are present from birth.

The way that those skills develop will depend on how other people engage with them, and those experiences will shape the neural pathways in their brain.

This is not the vision that we have always held of babies. It wasn’t very long ago that science thought babies’ mental and emotional worlds were a bit of a blur or that babies were rather socially isolated and inward-focused.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Catch Our Children Before They Fall. Have a look to understand more what happens to a child when we break connection.

Helping to Nurture Emotional Intelligence in our Children.

We can do a lot, and sometimes it starts with what we do ourselves, but teaching empathy and how to manage our own emotions starts with it being modelled by the adults. Nature’s way. We were all born to be interdependent, not fully independent and only fully dependent when we are newborns / infants.

Continue reading “What’s the big deal about emotions?”

Attachment Led Practice

Attachment Led Practice is widely understood to be a child-centred and relationship based approach to helping children to thrive, in school and in life. It is embedded into best practice and embedded into Early Years professionals training. The Scot Gov information is here. Early Years documents also include

buildingtheambition260_tcm4-850492Building The Ambition, to shape practice, evaluation and staff in developing key strategies to support the education and well-being of young children.

Recently parents have asked for a whole staff training in Attachment Led Practice to be considered, as very beneficial universally for whole school.

Curriculum for Excellence

Curriculum for Excellence Words Heart

The curriculum in Scotland is taught through the Curriculum for Excellence. Information regarding this can be found through this link. Curriculum for Excellence

There are four key capacities:

Successful Learners • Confident Individuals • Responsible Citizens • Effective Contributors

Within these capacities (reflecting experiences and outcomes) fit eight outcome areas:

Health and Wellbeing • Languages • Mathematics • Science • Social Studies • Expressive Arts • Technologies • Religious and Moral Education

Quote: Men [and presumably women!] are relatively predictable, limited and uncreative. It is the business of education to make us freer and more creative. (Stenhouse, 1975, p. 82)

[This is an educational goal which seems appropriate for CfE – with engagement of teachers and pupils at it’s heart. It is noted, however, that early progress of the acclaimed Curriculum for Excellence has become somewhat bogged down with paperwork, assessment and its ilk, leaving parents / carers and teachers wondering what has happened and how to set CfE back on course to reach its optimum capability as a very significant Educational Reform].

Documents, such as Building the Curriculum 2 support the vision and development of CfE. This one specifically centres on pre-school, the Early Years of Primary and Special Schools.


For more info, see post on the National Framework for Improvement.


Growth Mindset. (Health and Well-being).

With Growth Mindset being a key issue for PPS, particularly looking at Resilience and better life skills to help both in and out of school…..here are some more resources. Big Deal Little Deal has already been shared after being introduced in school…have a look and see the little video and post explaining it for the kids and ourselves.




Growth Mindset pocket book for Staff and others. (This can also be purchased from Amazon if you fancy using it more yourself as some parents are now doing).


And another wonderful video which explains a lot of Growth Mindset, ‘in action’.



What is Loose Parts Play?

Loose Parts Play – loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways. They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or combined with other materials.

loose-parts-play-jgpTwo play specialists here in Scotland with particular interests in Schools / Outdoor Learning and Inclusion have collaborated to create an excellent guide for http://www.inspiringscotland.org.uk/. Absolutely fantastic resource for every playground and places where children can come together, collaborate, create, construct, care and thrive.


A terrific example of Parent Led Playgroup Improvement here in East Lothian can be seen and followed through Law Primary’s journey to open their grounds to a very ripe learning environment. Parents created this group following their early start to make a significant difference – and the project was born. https://www.facebook.com/PlanetPlayNB/

You may like to check out Cramond Primary in Edinburgh too….

Our PLACE – Learn Outdoors



YoungMinds – information for Parents around Mental Health and Well-being.

YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Driven by their experiences we campaign, research and influence policy and practice.


YoungMinds worked with MindEd to create MindEd for Families, a resource hosted by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. The innovative new site launched on the 21st April 2016. The site provides information and advice for parents with concerns about their children’s mental health and well-being.

Parents who are concerned about their children’s mental health and wellbeing can go on the MindEd for Families site for good quality, practical information free of charge.

Funded by the Department of Education, MindEd for Families has been co-written by parents with a lived experience of child and teen mental health issues and the best clinical experts. The resources have been accredited by the Information Standard as reliable advice. 

MindEd for Families offers relevant, practical information that parents, family members and professionals can trust. It includes top tips and helpful advice from parents with the lived experience of supporting a child with mental health problems.

The information, available to view on tablets and smart phones, includes guidance on what to do in a crisis, what to do if you are worried, how to manage on a day to day basis, how to support your child through their experience and where to turn for support.

Have a look at www.minded.org.uk/families to see the ground breaking new resources.