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A sense of self

On a recent holiday, whilst walking to the beach there was a mirror placed in the bend of the road so that traffic and pedestrians could clearly see others coming in the opposite direction.

 I observed a child of about three standing and pulling faces in this mirror and striking different poses. Her parents allowed her to do this and I was smiling!

mirror - mexico

Good for her, I thought, as she’s building a positive sense of self and thinking about how she fits into the world.

It’s essential that educators within Early Years support children to have a sense of self and to have a positive view of themselves. Many of the insecurities that adults have can, at times, stem from how they saw themselves within their formative years and the conscious and unconscious messages from the adults around them.

Reflective thoughts for practice:

  • How can the key person support children effectively to have a sense of self?
  • What language do educators use to describe how children may feel about themselves?
  • We must support children to be confident communicators and confident in their presence, which all links back to personal, social and emotional development.
  • How do educators describe to a child what they’re doing (rather than meaningless labels such as ‘well done’, ‘you’re a star’, ‘good talking’), that helps children to critically think about what ‘good’ means to them personally, in the context of the situation?
  • How flexible is the routine of the day to allow for meaningful educator-to-child conversations?
  • How is the environment resourced, thinking about mirrors strategically placed in children’s view, for instance, bathroom, outdoors and the role play area?


Time for a bit of James Brown – I feel good!

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