Positive self-esteem and self-confidence are precious commodities.
As adults, how we perceive our worth to the world and how valuable we think we are to others affects our trust in people, our relationships, our work...in fact, virtually every part of our lives.
Positive self-esteem, from feeling acknowledged and appreciated for who and what we are, gives us the strength and flexibility to take charge of our lives and grow from our mistakes without the fear of rejection.
On the flip side, low self-esteem can be debilitating, preventing us from realising our full potential.
That's why promoting self-esteem is such a vital task for Early Years practitioners and ranks among the most important aspects of children's social-cognitive development.
We've known for more than 100 years that a child's emotional life strongly influences not only their interpersonal relations and behaviour, but also their learning.
More recent research stresses the importance of the early childhood years as a critically-important period for the development of future mental health and self-esteem.
It's no surprise then that there is a great deal of emphasis on Personal, Social and Emotional development within the Early Years Foundation Stage.
We all know that strong attachments play a key role in securing the early foundations on which confidence is built.
Therefore it is important that the relationship between the child and their key person is strong and effective.
A confident child will be more willing to communicate their likes, dislikes, needs, and feelings to an Early Years practitioner – crucial information for effectively supporting little ones.
Practitioners must create a nurturing environment, one in which children feel safe and secure and able to flourish, to allow young children to develop their own self-belief.
Developing self-esteem is the result of experiences that help a child feel capable, effective, and accepted.
- When children learn to do things for themselves and feel proud of what they can do, they feel capable.
- When they see that good things come from trying hard, achieving goals or making progress, they feel effective.
- When they feel accepted and understood they are likely to accept themselves, too.
However, this does not mean ignoring inappropriate or 'naughty' behaviour as all children need clear boundaries and reasonable expectations.
It simply means that children must not feel their acceptance is threatened by any reprimands and, in practice, educators must emphasis the unacceptability of the behaviour, not the child.
If you want to learn more how to encourage and nurture little ones' self-confidence then our CPD short course Developing Self-Esteem in Young Children, is the perfect learning tool.
The course is aimed at those working in an Early Years setting and learners gain an understanding of the value of healthy self-esteem to a child’s life.
It also teaches the skills needed to be able to encourage children’s positive self-esteem and how to work in partnership with parents and carers.
Learners also gain an understanding of a number of key interventions and activities that can boost a child’s self-esteem.