EYFS Series Part 2:
Welcome to part 2 of the EYFS Series we are running to support you with the EYFS reforms which come into play in September. In today’s article, we look back on the webinar we held last month with the wonderful Sue Asquith – all about Self-Regulation.
You can catch up on Part 1 – ‘Beatrice Merrick on using Birth to 5 Matters’ here, and stay tuned for more articles coming soon with EY experts including the renowned June O’Sullivan.
Last month we invited Guest Host, Sue Asquith to hold a webinar on Self-Regulation Skills in Young Children. You must have seen the words ‘Self-regulation’ and ‘executive function’ being thrown around over the last couple of months, but what do they mean and why are they suddenly so important?
Sue helps us to put Self-Regulation into context…
“If we look back to March 2020 when we got thrust into the national lockdown for the first time, as adults, we all put our self-regulation skills to the test. We didn’t know how long it was going to last, or what the impact would be, so some of us didn’t know how to deal with it. This resulted in people finding themselves in fight or flight mode and displaying behaviours such as clearing the shelves and panic buying rice and pasta. It’s all because they were suddenly in a situation they had never been in before, with no previous coping strategies to rely on to help cope and self-regulate.
However, now we have all been in that situation, it will provide a solid foundation for resilience for any subsequent lockdowns. We’ll now understand that we don’t need that much rice and pasta and we’ll be able to control our impulse buying.
As a child – Self-regulation may display itself as a child being able to understand the different rules for being inside the classroom and being outside in the playground or park. For instance, a child might understand that it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to run around your classroom the same way they could do in the park, so they would learn to control their impulse and modify their behaviour whilst indoors.”
The Self-Regulation Early Learning Goals are:
Children at the expected level of development will:
- Show an understanding of their own feelings and those of others, and begin to regulate their behaviour accordingly;
- Set and work towards simple goals, being able to wait for what they want and control their immediate impulses when appropriate;
- Give focused attention to what the teacher says, responding appropriately even when engaged in activity, and show an ability to follow instructions involving several ideas or actions.
The EYFS states that providers must help children work towards the Early Learning Goals which are the knowledge, skills and understanding children should have at the end of the academic year in which they turn five.
These are quite complex skills for such young children and of course, summer-born children and children with speech, language and communication delay, etc, may be on the back foot if this is the benchmark they are hoping to achieve.
So, what can you do to support children with Self-Regulation?
Although the 2020 Development Matters document is not statutory, you may wish to use the seven key features of effective practice pointers in this guidance as a tool to audit your setting in preparation for September. One of these key features is self-regulation and executive function
With just over 3 months until September, why not explore the non-statutory guidance documents (Development Matters and Birth to 5 Matters with your team? This may help you to understand where you are currently, as well as spark some debate with your peers. Consider any EYFS workshops or courses you might like to attend.
Self-regulation and executive function is point six of the key features of effective practice (page 7)
Development Matters states Executive Function includes the child’s ability to:
- Hold information in mind
- Focus their attention
- Regulate their behaviour
- Plan what to do next
These abilities contribute to the child’s growing ability to self-regulate:
- Focus their thinking
- Monitor what they are doing and adapt
- Regulate strong feelings
- Be patient for what they want
- Bounce back when things get difficult