Sunday, 24 June 2012

Characteristics of effective learning - EYFS

There are 3 characteristics of effective learning which help us to focus on and understand how children learn.

We will need to become familiar with them and reflect on how they can help us to support children’s learning and development by providing activities we know the children will enjoy.

The characteristics of effective learning are…

Playing and exploring - observing how children engage with their learning
• Finding out and exploring
• Using what they know in their play
• Being willing to have a go

Active learning - observing how children are motivated to learn
• Being involved and concentrating
• Keeping trying
• Enjoying and achieving what they set out to do

Creating and thinking critically - observing how children are thinking
• Having their own ideas
• Using what they already know to learn new things
• Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways

[B]How will you use the characteristics in your provision?[/B]

First of all, dig out the Principles into Practice cards (the orange ones) from the current EYFS (2008) and read through them again. They will give you lots of ideas for ensuring you are ready to embrace the characteristics.

Then you need to decide how you will use the characteristics - they are quite long and cumbersome and might not be suited to being evidenced as part of your normal observations, assessments and planning process.

You might think that they will be most useful in the summary assessments you write about each child’s learning and development. Summary assessments might be useful every 3 - 6 months to note whether or not a child is progressing and to share achievements with parents - but they are not required by the EYFS (2012) and should only be written if you find them helpful.

You also need to think about how you intend to explain the characteristics of effective learning to parents and find out how their child learns at home… this will help to build parents understanding of the new EYFS, especially with the requirement that we support children’s learning at home through sharing information and ideas for activities etc.

To help you prepare your paperwork to embrace the Characteristics of Effective Learning, I have written the following e-books and mini e-books…

Characteristics of effective learning (e-book 59) - the characteristics of effective learning are relatively new in the EYFS. They look at how children learn rather than what children are learning… this new e-book will help you to unpick the requirement and show you how to use the characteristics in your day-to-day work with children.

Children’s learning styles (mini 74)- children learn using a variety of learning styles which are unique to them - by noting each child’s learning styles we will be better able to plan for their individual needs… by thinking about HOW as well as what they are learning.

E-book 32 ‘Schemas’discusses how children’s repeated actions (learning styles) can be supported in various ways, mostly using the normal continuous provision resources all childminders already have in their provision.

I will introduce more requirements from the EYFS and discuss how they can be used over the next few weeks as we think about how we can embrace the revised EYFS and make it work in our provisions.