PSE stands for Personal and Social Education. It is an important part of childrens' learning. So what does it cover and how can it be reinforced at home?
PSE helps to give children the knowledge, skills and understanding they need to lead confident, healthy and independent lives. It aims to help them understand how they are developing personally and socially, tackling many of the moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up. The kinds of questions that might come up in PSE include: What acts indicate kindness? Why do we have to eat vegetables? Why do large items sometimes cost less than smaller ones?
It is here that children will learn about bullying, citizenship, drug education, healthy eating, physical activity, mental and emotional health, wellbeing, and sex and relationships.
Learning opportunities take place in specific lessons as well as in assemblies, circle time, special school projects and other activities that enrich pupils' experiences.
What children learn
Examples of the areas that may be covered in PSE:
Money plays a large role in our lives and in the way we relate to each other.
Sex and relationships
Sex education has now become sex and relationships education (SRE), signalling the growing consensus that children are entitled to more than just the biological facts.
Children learn that regular physical activity and a healthy diet can go a long way to ensuring they stay healthy.
Children will talk about common pressures, issues such as friendship and belonging and other things that can contribute to mental wellbeing.
Bereavement, voting, taking care of the environment and being a young carer are the kinds of social issues that will be covered. One popular topic is bullying, perhaps because it directly affects children at school, and it's crucial that they know where to seek help if needed.
These lessons help pupils to understand more about drugs and also clarify any misconceptions they may have.
Key Stage 1 PSE explained
Building on the EYFS for personal, social and emotional development, PSE lessons at Key Stage 1 will encourage your child to develop awareness about his/herself as an individual and as a member of the community.
The teacher will cover topics such as basic rules and skills for staying healthy and safe and for behaving well. Children are given opportunities to show they can take some responsibility for themselves and their environment. They begin to learn about their own and other people's feelings and become aware of the views, needs and rights of others. They learn social skills such as how to share, take turns, play, help others, resolve simple arguments and resist bullying.
Developing PSE at home:
- Encourage your child to think about healthy eating. Try doing some simple cooking activities with your child and talk about the ingredients and how you are cooking them.
- Provide a special role play area for your child – use props, costumes, old clothes, and any other bits that will help your child explore new characters, people, and lifestyles.
- Identify areas which your child needs more support with, for example, sharing, taking turns, being patient, or controlling their temper. Address the issue through stories or role play, which use a similar scenario and ask your child what they think and how the situation could be helped.
- Do encourage your child to play with other children, and provide a variety of opportunities for your child to socialise with other children their age.
Key Stage 2 PSE explained
During Key Stage 2 PSHE, pupils learn about themselves as growing and changing individuals with their own experiences and ideas, and as members of wider communities.
They learn about the world and the interdependence of communities within it. They develop their sense of social justice and moral responsibility and begin to understand that their own choices and behaviour can affect local, national or global issues and political and social institutions. Children also learn how to take part more fully in school and community activities. This is all part of them becoming more mature, independent and confident.
As children begin to develop into young adults, they face the changes of puberty and transfer to secondary school with support and encouragement from their school. They learn how to make more confident and informed choices about their health and environment; to take more responsibility, individually and as a group, for their own learning; and to resist bullying.
Developing PSE at home:
- Ask your child to plan and make their own healthy meal for the whole family. Take them to the shops to choose the ingredients and do a budget for it. Supervise where necessary in the kitchen.
- Have whole family discussions. You can all sit around a table and chat about things which happened in your day. If you and your partner talk openly about your feelings, it will encourage your child to be more open and comfortable with their own feelings.
- Have fun together as a family. Go on outings, play games, do exercise, anything which has the whole family enjoying themselves together.
- Where appropriate, introduce your child to current affairs through either local or national news. Ask them what they think, how they feel, and encourage a discussion.
- Play the problem game. Make some cards with different problems written on them, such as 'friendship', 'bullying', 'hygiene', and 'family problems'. Ask your child to pick a card and make up a scenario which involves the problem. Then ask them to explain how they would work through the problem.