Emotional Well-Being with Professor Iram Siraj

The Knowledge Makes Change seminar series aims to inspire and be informative on ‘what works’ for young children and their families to ensure the best possible outcomes. It forms part of NCB’s work in Jersey and is delivered in partnership with the Jersey Child Care Trust. They are free events open to everyone engaged with young children and their families in Jersey.

The 7th evening in the series featured Professor Iram Siraj discussing Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being (SSTEW).

The importance of emotional well-being

We know instinctively that a child’s emotional wellbeing is important. For parents and carers this might arise from their loving relationship with the child and a deeply-held desire for them to feel happy and secure. Practitioners know from experience that an unhappy or angry child needs to be comforted and reassured, before enjoyment and learning can begin.

However, what we know about children’s emotional needs from the perspectives of love, empathy or experience, is also supported by a wealth of research evidence.

Well-being in Jersey

In Jersey, following on a conference hosted by eminent Professor Ferre Laevers in June 2017, the Childcare and Early Years Service (CEYS) team have continued using the Leuven Well-being and Involvement scales to support learning and development.

Recent work with Early Excellence on a project called Maximising Children’s Learning Potential has also enabled Jersey practitioners to effectively support children’s successful development, reflecting on the role of the adult and the creation of truly enabling learning  environments. As a consequence of these pieces of work, well-being and involvement are becoming deeply embedded across settings and schools in Jersey.

Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being (SSTEW)

The Sustained Shared Thinking and Emotional Well-being (SSTEW) Scale works as observational tool for practitioners to assess the quality of space, resources and activities in their settings and allows practitioners to focus on well-being, self-regulation as well as children’s emerging autonomy and socio-economic development.

Professor Iram Siraj is Professor of Child Development and Education at Department for Education, University of Oxford. She has worked as an early years, primary and advisory teacher, and for the last 30 years as a researcher and academic with the Universities of Warwick, London and Wollongong.

She has co-directed a number of influential studies, including the Effective Provision of Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Education (EPPSE, DfE, 1997-2014) study and the transformative Researching Effective Pedagogy in the Early Years (REPEY, DfE, 2002) study.

Professor Siraj gave a jam packed session for early years practitioners in Jersey discussing this importance of ensuring a quality provision that promotes positive emotional well-being and how SSTEW can be used as a model alongside the Leuven scales to support this.

The evening was also opened by local speakers from Jersey’s Trinity School and who have been maximising children's learning potential in the Early Years through high levels of well-being and interactive sessions following children’s interests. Trinity told us how they used an inset day to sit and discuss our early years values and to make an action plan for improving well-being across their early years classes and to ensure their children learn the importance of being Happy and Healthy, Engaged and Inspired as well as Kind and Respectful.

Useful Resources

Slides from the evening can be found online along with our Emotional Wellbeing briefing paper produced for the event.