Characteristics of effective learning: understanding the EYFS

23rd November 2015

Characteristics of effective learning..

The characteristics of effective learning are the ways in which the children engage with other people and their environment. It’s how they learn and not necessarily what they learn. These are Playing and Exploring, Active learning and Creating and Critical thinking. The ways in which the children play and learn help to support the child to remain an effective and motivated learner. Below are the details of how our children learn, what they do and how us as practitioners and parents can help them achieve.

Playing and exploring – engagement

Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to ‘have a go’

Active learning – motivation

Being involved and concentrating
Keeping trying
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Creative and thinking critically – thinking

Having their own ideas
Making links
Choosing ways to do thing

How staff and parents can support characteristics of learning.

Playing and exploring –

Encourage them to explore and discover by seeing you show an interest.

Try not direct children, let them discover themselves.

Model pretending an object is something else, and help develop roles and stories.

Support childrens confidence with words and boy language.

Pay attention and talk about the process they go through rather then the product or result.

Active learning –

Suppot children to choose their own activities

Encourage children to talk about what they do, how they have done it and what they have achevied.

Be specific when you praise, noting the effort they make, the approches they use and the ideas they have.

Encourage children to learn together


Creative and critical thinking –

Model being a thinker, showing that you don’t always have to know the answer

Encourage other ways of doing e.g. what else could we do?

Respect all childrens efforts and ideas so they feel safe to take a risk.

Model self-talk, describing your actions in play.

Give children time to talk and think.

Value all questions with a response.

Follow childrens lead in conversation, think about things together.

Give children feedback so they can think about what they have done and decide how to do it better next time.


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