The environment is more than physical space because it contains the emotions of the children who spend time in it, the staff that work there and the parents who leave their children there. The emotional environment is an invisible measure of ‘feelings’ – sometimes it can have a ‘feel-good’ factor where the children, staff and parents feel positive, and at others it can have a ‘not-so-good’ feel about it when children, staff or parent are down or unhappy. Maintaining positive feelings is important for staff, children and parents, but equally if they feel safe in the emotional environment children can express their feelings safely, knowing that their parents or staff are nearby to help them if they feel overwhelmed by these. Teaching children ways to talk about and express their feelings allows them to externalise them safely, rather than to cover them up and leave them hidden away. Feelings which are expressed in safety are far easier to deal with than those which are left unresolved.
Please note that the Principles into Practice card below refers to the EYFS 2007, it is not linked to the Revised EYFS.