Assessing your child’s social, emotional and play development

The Social and Emotional Skills Assessment

Formerly the Social, Emotional and Play Development Scale – “The Curtis Scale”

As a professional, I have worked with a huge number of children over the years and many of them have struggled with their emotions or social skills, maybe they are insecure or anxious, are struggling with their behaviour and their parents and teachers want to know how they can help.

As I researched the theories related to how children develop socially and emotionally it occurred to me that there wasn’t an assessment tool that people could use to identify the gaps that some children have in their personal growth.

I was particularly interested in how these looked when viewed chronologically, so spent seven years researching the different theories, identifying each of the stages and coming up with questions to assess them.

The result was the Social, Emotional and Play Development Scale (the SEPD Scale), which I tested and then released in 2015.  After its release and through talking to colleagues in school who were using it, it transpired that they were referring to it as ‘The Curtis Scale’ and so it was renamed. In 2019 it was renamed to be the Social and Emotional Skills Assessment as it was expanded to reflect research on the development of additional social and emotional skills.

The SESA is now being used in homes, primary and secondary schools, plus colleges in the UK and beyond.

How to use it

Download the appropriate questionnaire and complete, this should take no more than 15-30 seconds per question and if completed correctly takes about ten minutes to complete.

Download the appropriate scoring sheet and shade in the scores from the questions, using the Step reference to guide you.


The SESA is listed chronologically, this means that gaps at the top are of higher priority (as they are the building blocks for the later social and emotional skills) and need to be addressed first.  Most children normally score 6, 7 or 8 in each Step.

On the example above, whilst there is a large gap for S4, the earliest gap is actually S1, and should be addressed first.


The SESA on paper is free for parents and non-commercial educational establishments around the world to use.  Licences are available for professional bodies, organisations and individuals, please contact

Email me the SESA,
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For GDPR purposes the SESA is property of Richard Daniel Curtis. Emails may come from The Root Of It Ltd for professionals and The Kid Calmer Ltd for parents and carers.