Prioritise PSED in the first week back at school

The end of the Christmas holidays are upon us and it’s finally time to remember what day of the week it is, drag out our workwear from the sea of Christmas sparkles in our wardrobes and get stuck into the new term. Some of us are ready to get back to routine, some of us are counting down the days to the next holiday and many of us will be feeling excitement about what is to come in the Spring term. It’s the same for our children. Lots of them will have had holidays filled with fun and special memories but many will also be craving the stability of school. So… why is it important to prioritise PSED in the first week back at school?

Re-establishes routines and expectations

Back in September, you’ll have worked really hard to set clear expectations and build clear routines that support your setting to be a calm environment that is conducive to learning. In the last few weeks of the Autumn term, when the energy levels were stratospheric, you worked even harder to maintain them. And now, children are heading back through the door, with a belly full of chocolate and 2-3 weeks of limited routine behind them and you need to reaffirm the foundations you have laid. Focusing on the building blocks of routines and the setting expectations will ensure that the new term not only gets off to a smooth start but that you can get stuck into the learning you have planned for the future weeks much quicker!

Time to reconnect

Focusing on PSED allows you and your children time to reconnect. Over the Autumn term, you will have established positive relationships with your children, that make them feel secure and in turn allow them to be ready to learn. It is important to reestablish these relationships on the return to your setting, to allow children to feel secure and reassured that the setting is a safe place. It also allows for children to rebuild and revisit their relationships with their peers whom they have likely also not seen for two weeks.


Just as when your children started at the setting, after a break, they will need time to become familiar with the environment again. Maybe the room looks different without the Christmas Tree, or perhaps you’ve moved a few pieces of furniture or changed a few displays. By prioritsing PSED, you are giving children the time to reflect on the changes and rebuild their familiarity with the environment.

In short, in the first week back, it is key to provide children with the opportunity to settle back into routines and relationships and if you prioritise PSED in this time it allows them the space they need to recentre. Provide lots of child initiated time, play alongside children and support them to communicate and build relationships and think carefully about the additional activities you provide in this time (we’ve all done the classic “write about your holiday”, but as an alternative why not spend time discussing your goals for the year ahead and developing communication skills). All of these strategies will prioritise PSED in your setting and will support a smooth start to the new term.

If you’re feeling the back to work dread, or your resolution is to reclaim your weekends and evenings then I’m here to help. There’s a ton of planning support and you can access it for just £1 a week as part of my membership or just pay for what you need. And if you want to chat- pop me a message across my social channels or via the contact form!

Happy New Year!

Wishing you good health and happiness for the year ahead!

Emma xx