Current Developments and Areas of Interest

View the Educational Psychology Service current developments and areas of interest:

Teaching cognitive skills for life

We developed a series of 5 interactive workshops for Early Years Practitioners called Teaching Cognitive Skills for Life.  The purpose of the sessions is to work together to explore the key skills that are essential for all children to navigate an increasingly complex and changing world. These skills will support them to become successful and independent learners throughout their school and adult lives. 

Each session covers different aspects: 

  • Session 1 - the importance of children's awareness of their own learning skills
  • Session 2 - how adults can influence children’s cognitive development through everyday interactions
  • Session 3 and 4 - how early years practitioners can support the development of specific cognitive skills through everyday nursery activities
  • Session 5 - follow-up to enable participants come back together as a group and share their practice and learning experiences during the three months immediately following the sessions

For more details on this course please contact

Supporting nurturing approaches and inclusion

The Educational Psychology Service has been involved in supporting the development of nurturing approaches within Aberdeenshire schools. Our aim is to support all schools to develop nurturing approaches.  To do this we are:

  • Supporting schools to embed the core principles of nurture 
  • Providing consultation to those establishing learning hubs
  • Gathering information about staff and school development needs in relation to nurturing approaches
  • Facilitating learning circles for learning hub stuff

Everyone has a brilliant brain

Our service has been supporting schools to use the My Brilliant Brain programme.  This programme helps children and young people to understand how they learn and how to use their brains better.  My Brillian Brain has evolved from Carole Dweck’s work around mindsets and how children learn best.  Key messages from this include:

“You can grow your brain”  
“Your brain is like a muscle, use it or lose it”

Cognitive approaches

A central component of the Curriculum for Excellence is to support children and young people to develop thinking and learning skills. The Educational Psychology Service have been providing assessment and training to promote learning skills and thinking skills.  This has included:

  • Mediated Learning Experience (MLE) - which looks at the quality of the interactions between the learner, the task and the teacher
  • Instrumental Enrichment (IE) - a thinking skills programme to help children and young people become better learners
  • Cognitive Abilities Profile (CAP) - a collaborative assessment tool to discuss and explore cognitive strengths and areas to develop to inform which can then provide a clear focus for planning of cognitive targets in a child’s Individual Education Plan

Key cognitive approaches include: 

Person Centered Planning (PCP)

PCP is a flexible and adaptable approach that puts service users at the centre of service delivery by using a variety of tools to plan for change. These tools can help organise meetings and provide a framework for identifying and prioritising long and short-term targets.
Training has now been extended to all educational psychologists in Aberdeenshire and the PCP approach is being used where appropriate alongside and within consultation meetings. The approach is currently being used by psychologists with individual pupils, their teachers and their families, at school level to help departments plan for the future and also with the Education Learning and Leisure directorate to support long and short term development planning.

Instrumental Enrichment

Instrumental Enrichment is a general skills model of cognitive education based upon Feuerstein's theory of Structural Cognitive Modifiablity (Feuerstein 1970). The main premise of IE is to improve thinking skills and problem solving for all learners. Currently, all members of our service are trained in IE Basic and IE Standard and they are working with groups of teachers and pupils in a number of different schools. Two members of our service are trained up to Level 1 and Trainer Level respectively. We have also trained a number of teachers in IE and Mediated Learning Experiences across Aberdeenshire

Appreciative Inquiry

Aberdeenshire EPS is supportive of innovative psychological practice and theory. Appreciative inquiry increases energy and commitment by encouraging people to recognise what is going well. Educational psychologists have utilised Appreciative inquiry to increase motivation and positivity in their school level work and within Aberdeenshire EPS.

Video Interactive Guidance

Aberdeenshire EPS is continually looking to provide new and innovative strategies to support children and young people. One of these interventions is Video Interactive Guidance (VIG). Educational Psychologists trained in VIG use it as a tool to work with children and young people to improve positive interaction and communication. VIG involves analysing short clips of video of pupils in different social situations, and encouraging them to observe, analyse and reflect on their behaviour in relation to others.

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