01773 872378


Station Road, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S45 8EU

Pilsley Primary School

Inspire, Respect, Achieve


Self-Regulation: What is it and why is it important?

Self-regulation has a pivotal role in promoting wellbeing - affecting a child's physical, emotional, social, health and ultimately educational achievement.

Self-regulation can be defined as managing thoughts and feelings so that a child can focus on choosing their actions and work towards their goals.

This means initially finding ways to cope with strong feelings so they don’t become overwhelming; learning to focus and shift attention; and successfully controlling behaviours required to get along with others and work towards goals.

Supporting self-regulation development in early childhood is an investment in later success, because stronger self-regulation predicts better performance in school, better relationships with others, and fewer difficulties.

Moreover, the ability to regulate thoughts, feelings, and actions helps children successfully negotiate many of the challenges they face, promoting resilience in the face of adversity.

For many of our pupils the ability to self-regulate develops through Foundation as they move through Nursery and on in to Reception.  This process is supported by our teaching approach designed around naming and understanding their emotions, giving the children time and opportunity to practise social skills in small groups and consistently giving them 'positive regard'  i.e. enabling the child to know that whatever emotions takeover and behaviours manifest we still care about them.  Intervention programmes such as ECAT enable children to practise such skills in a safe environment whilst developing their language and social communication.

However, for some pupils learning to self-regulate their emotions takes longer, and they can become overwhelmed by their difficulties.  For these pupils the school will provide ongoing support through our Nurture, Positive Play and Pastoral programmes.

In addition, the ability to self-regulate is affected by outside factors. Being able to control your feelings when faced by a tricky piece of work can be so much harder when tired, anxious or worried about friendships.  This can affect adults never mind children of Primary School age and understanding that these children need 'positive regard', support and knowing we care about hem despite how they feel or the behavioural mistakes they make is vital for their long term success. 

Reducing anxiety and supporting pupils to manage their feeling is a key factor throughout school and affects every child in school at some point.  Our staff are trained to recognise these issues and build in to their teaching programmes the ongoing development of understanding their own emotions and needs throughout the curriculum but especially through PSHE.