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Life at two – making friends & joining in

3 years – Development of relationships with peers, co-operation and conflict.

Contents of section

  • Playing with peer at home
  • Conflict with peer at home - overwhelming emotions
  • Co -operating with peer at nursery
  • Group talking time
  • Joining group game
  • Conclusion - feeling at home in both settings, confident to learn


  • What does Ava do when Molly said they had to share?
  • What does Ava do to upset Esther?
  • What do you think about the way mum responded when Ava tried to hit Esther?
  • What does Ava do to involve herself in the train game in the play ground?
  • What can you say about Ava’s social and emotional development at home?
  • What can you say about Ava’s social and emotional development at nursery?
  • How and why might Ava’s behaviour with her peers differ in the two settings?

As Ava draws near to her third birthday she is developing fast. We can see a dramatic change in her ability to socialise with her peers. She has had the opportunity to learn about another person’s mind and their emotional state from having such close adult attachments. We have seen Ava empathising with her toys during her play and gradually she is becoming able to do the same with her peers. It is a slow process however as Ava’s emotions are still easily overwhelmed especially when the needs of others conflict directly with her own. The neural pathways in the brain develop gradually and affect the way emotions are processed, and don’t mature fully until early adulthood 4.

4 Gerhardt. S, Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain. Hove, Brunner-Routledge.