Children’s long term success at school is influenced as much by social, emotional and self-regulation skills as by academic skills and knowledge. The overall goal of SEED was to improve psychosocial well-being and healthy development of young children (2,5 to 6 years old), with an emphasis on those growing up in difficult circumstances such as children on the move, children with a low socio-economic status or children victims or witnesses of domestic violence.
We did this by conducting a country level screening of psychosocial well-being of 5-year-old children in 5 countries in Europe.
Based on the findings, we developed and piloted an innovative continuing development programme to build practitioners capacities to support psychosocial well-being. Paying more attention to young children’s feelings and social relationships leads to happier learners who have a better and a more equal chance to fullfil their potential!
Social and emotional development is a main contributor to successful school transitions and a significant preventative factor of disruptive behaviour, and mental health difficulties. Not paying attention to social and emotional development is harmful to young children’s capacity to learn and to thrive. Research points to a lack of training and continuous professional development on this topic, and the need to design effective methods to provide ECEC educators with skills and competences to promote children’s socio-emotional development in ECEC. Further, there are few reliable and easy to use indicators for psychosocial development of young children, which link socio-emotional development to children’s capacity to learn.
The overall goal of SEED was to improve psychosocial well-being and healthy development of young children (2,5 to 6 years old). The specific objectives were to conduct a country level screening of psychosocial well-being of 5-year-old children in Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, the Netherlands and Norway using the UPSI-5 tool developed by ICDI.
Based on the findings, we implemented an innovative continuing development programme to build practitioners capacities to support psychosocial well-being. A further objective was to bring young children’s psychosocial well-being high on the agenda of European, national and local policy makers.
Other activities were the training of data collectors in the use of the UPSI-5 to measure psychosocial well-being; the training of facilitators for the CPD pathway; and, an international training and peer-exchange event for the ECEC practitioners involved in piloting the SEED CPD approach.
Participants in SEED were over 100 ECEC practitioners and primary school teachers in 5 countries: Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Netherlands and Norway. They participated in research and in the SEED CPD, an innovative CPD process lasting 11 months combining guided group reflection and mentoring, and participation in an online professional peer learning community.
Other participants were over 200 staff of faculties of teacher education in universities, institutes of teacher education, education and teacher training agencies responsible for CPD, teachers’ associations, parents’ associations, school boards, university researchers and local municipal policy makers responsible for education, who participated in local seminars in all countries. See, for instance, here.
– practitioners have the skills and knowledge to promote and nurture young children’s psychosocial development.
– important stakeholders (governments, education and care services, NGOs, teacher training institutes and parents) recognise the importance of psychosocial well-being of young children and positively influence policy and practice to give more attention to this area.
– population level data on psychosocial well-being of 5 year old children are collected and analysed and remain accessible to policy makers and practitioners who want make informed decisions regarding resource allocation, interventions and track progress over time.
The SEED project has contributed to improving quality of pedagogical practice of ECEC practitioners and pre-school teachers participating in the SEED CPD pathway. ECEC and schools became more supportive of children’s psychosocial well-being, which positively effected their overall school outcomes and schools transitions.