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EYFS Characteristic of Effective Learning

When planning and guiding what children learn, we reflect on the different rates at which children are developing and adjust our practice appropriately.

Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

  • playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’
  • active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements
  • creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things

The characteristics of effective learning underpin everything we do in the EYFS and are always a focus.

Playing and Exploring
This area includes;

  • being willing to ‘have a go’
  • finding out and exploring
  • playing with what they know

During independent play, adults encourage children to initiate and seek out activities. They model a ‘can do attitude’ to the children and support children in taking risks when engaging in new experiences. We encourage children to show curiosity and to use their senses to explore the world around them. We set up open ended activities to ensure children have the opportunities to engage and put these learning strategies to use.

Active Learning
This area includes;

  • being involved and concentrating
  • keeping on trying
  • enjoying achieving what they have set out to do

We ensure that children have the time to become involved in activities, whether it be adult or child led and allow them the time to concentrate and focus without distraction. Our EYFS children are introduced to ‘Tough tortoise’ as part of a whole school initiative to encourage perseverance and determination. One of his favourite sayings it ‘I can’t do it…yet!’

Our aim is to support children in becoming resilient. The children are also introduced to our ‘Super Six Aims’ which include respect, aspire, explore, determination, be responsible and make good choices.

Creating and Thinking Critically
This area includes;

  • having their own ideas
  • making links
  • choosing ways to do things

Our enabling environment and guided teacher sessions, encourages children to find new ways to solve problems. Open ended resources in the learning environment help to develop this. We ensure that children make links and notice patterns in their experience. We also ensure that children have the opportunity to plan, make decisions about how to approach a task, solve a problem and read a goal.

We teach children how to check how well their activities are going and encourage them to change strategy as needed. We build in time to extend children’s ideas through sustained discussion, considering ‘how; and ‘why’ things happen.