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How do children learn in the Early Years?

Children learn through:

  • Playing and exploring
  • Learning actively
  • Creating and thinking critically

In the EYFS, the adults make professional judgements about the balance between activities led or guided by adults and those led by children. This balance shifts towards more activities led by adults as children move through the early years and towards Year 1.

Adult directed activities are those which are directed by the adult and are useful in the teaching of specific skills such as phonics and demonstrating how to use tools or equipment. In our Reception classes, daily teaching of Literacy and Maths starts from the outset and is a key part of our curriculum.

Adult guided activities are those which the adult initiates. These activities are often playful or experiential. They are open ended and motivate a keen interest in learning.

Child-initiated experiences take place within an environment the adults have set up and planned but will be wholly decided upon by the child, based on the child’s own motivation and remains under the child’s control. The adults support the children’s learning and interest through observing their play and scaffolding their learning.

Observations are a vital aspect of our role in the EYFS as through observing the children’s play and learning, the adults are able to scaffold the children’s learning and plan activities and for the environment to move this learning on.