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Understanding the EYFS: Understanding the World Explained

Throughout February, we are taking a deep dive into each of the areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage or EYFS.

In short, the EYFS is how the government and early years practitioners describe the time in your little one’s life between birth and age 5.

It’s a legal framework to ensure a high quality of care and safeguarding for your child. You can click here to find out more.

There are 7 areas of learning to explore in total, and we are continuing today with understanding the world – let’s dive straight in!

Wherever you go and whatever you’re up to you will notice that your little one is always interested in the things going on around them.

This natural curiosity helps children learn from every experience.

You might think that there isn’t much to learn from simple things like riding on a bus, jumping on the bed or playing in the park, but it’s exactly these experiences that help your little one find out what things are, how they work and what they do.

The EYFS explains that understanding the world covers the following:

  • People and communities

  • The world

  • Technology

Together these areas help your little one make sense of everything they see and everything that happens in their family, community and where they live.

Their understanding is developed by: being with people within their family and community and learning about their lives, discovering different places, and finally finding out about and using technology.

It’s important to remember that children learn best through first-hand experiences by playing, exploring, chatting and listening.

Children also need time to digest information – so allow them to learn and notice things in their own time.

Supporting your little one’s learning at home

  • People and communities

This is where children can learn about who they are, what they can do, their family, and people they know within their community (from family friends to shopkeepers and more). They also learn how and why we celebrate birthdays, festivals etc.

You can support this by:

- Sharing family photographs – you can also make displays and scrapbooks.

- Playing games together.

- Singing songs that teach things e.g. different parts of the body.

- Talking to your little one about their appearance, similarities to others, and differences.

- Telling stories about different family members and traditions.

  • The world

Your little one will learn about the world around them – to begin with, this will be all about their local area including their home, their local shops, parks, their nursery etc.

This will also help them learn: what is happening within their area (e.g. summer festivals), what things are called like different animals, objects etc. and why things happen (e.g. changes in season).

You can help support this by:

- Exploring your home together.

- Sharing books about different places.

- Going on walks or buggy rides around the local area.

- Taking lots of photos!

- Collecting items like leaves on walks to the park.

- Playing games like I Spy.

  • Technology

This is all about learning which items are natural, which are made by people, and which work because of technology.

You can help support this by:

- Categorising and talking about the uses of a variety of items around the house together like toys, remotes, controllers etc.

- Talking to your little one about items that rely on a micro-processor like washing machines, microwaves, and phones.

- Pointing out things that use technology and ones that don’t when out and about such as the lights at a pedestrian crossing, storefront signs etc.

Activity ideas

  • Filmmaking

Ideal for children aged 4-5.

At this stage, it’s likely that your child will be pretty competent using tech, so it’s the perfect time to let them do something hands-on with technology and encourage them to make their own movie!

Start by chatting about ideas and drawing scenes together, then allow your little one to get creative by filming using your phone or camera.

  • Sensory Trays

Ideal for children under 2.

Sensory trays are perfect for toddlers to explore different materials and their properties – click here for our all you need to know guide to sensory play.

You can help your little one better understand the world by making themed trays for example, with materials from the local park or area or with items from around the home! Click here for ideas.

  • Composting

Ideal for children aged 2-3

Foster your child’s curiosity about nature by letting them see the magic of watching food leftovers turn into soil!

This eco-friendly activity is not just interesting and hands of but can later be used for plating activities.

You can help further your child’s learning by sharing books about gardening (click here for recommendations).

  • Family Photos

Ideal for children under 2.

Help your little one better understand family relationships and traditions by creating a memory box, scrap book or family tree together.

Use lots of photos (even of pets) and talk about each person, who they are, what they do, where they live etc. as you’re creating it. You can click here for inspiration.



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