Understanding the world

Understanding the world is one of the seven areas of the early years foundation stage and is used to develop a child's familiarity with technology and their understanding of geography, people and communities. Children can show this in range of ways including talking about themselves and their family, the similarities and differences between people, observing animals and plants how they differ and how the world around them is different from place to place. They also learn about the range of different technologies in the world and how each one has a specific role or purpose.

Below you will find a range of practical articles and expert features that cover understanding the world to help you develop these skills and overcome challenges you might encounter. For more information on the EYFS you can download latest version of the statutory framework here.

Latest Practical

Understanding the World: Chain reaction

  • Jenni Clarke, author and consultant, France

The first in this ‘little scientist’ series explores the nature of chemistry and outlines some simple but exciting experiments, which will ignite children's curiosity and encourage them to make predictions based on what they see.

Understanding the World: Bangs and bubbles

  • Claire Hewson

Children are naturally inquisitive about the world and they will always be excited by hands-on science. These simple experiments devised by Claire Hewson are designed to ignite children's curiosity, wonderment and sense of discovery.

Understanding the world: On their wavelength

  • Sarah Davies

National Radio Day is celebrated in the US on 20 August 2019 and is not only a day to remember the invention of the radio but also to think about words and sound as a medium of communication.

Shaken and stirred

  • Claire Hewson

Home-made sensory bottles will fascinate children as a way to experiment with different liquids, and how they look and react. Record how their predictions support their Understanding of the World.

Marvellous museums

  • Sarah Davies

Use International Museum Day as a springboard for children to explore the role of museums and think about them as a way to share knowledge and ideas, and preserve memories of the past and present.

Catch a star in your net

  • Ann R Roberts

Nets are a cheap, readily available, versatile resource. Use them to make dens, catch carboard stars and all sorts of other objects. Talk about how they keep us safe and have fun crawling beneath them.

‘Let's get gardening’

  • Sarah Davies

National Gardening Week is an excellent opportunity to showcase to the local community what you do in your setting to grow and use produce, and to encourage a healthy and productive outdoor experience.

Latest Features

Tuff decisions

  • Ailsa Chapman, teacher, foundation stage coordinator and advanced skills teacher

Ailsa Chapman re-visits that stalwart of early years resourcing – the tuff tray, and suggests ways to extend its scope, with a range of imaginative ideas that children can take in any direction.

Building positive futures through intergenerational contact

  • Stephen Burke

Bringing old and young together for meaningful interactions is now proving to have many benefits – not just for children and the elderly, but for society as a whole. Stephen and Denise Burke explain how they are working to maximise these benefits.

Take a look at the June issue of EYE

Want to keep up-to-date with the latest pedagogical research and ideas from the experts, be challenged in your thinking and innovative in your practice? Dip into this month’s pages for a taster of EYE’s in-depth, professional coverage.

Everything under the sun

  • Ailsa Chapman

Make the most of the warm and sunny days of summer to introduce the topic of holidays and travel, and organise a variety of outdoor activities, including water and sand play, picnics, sports and trips.

How to be a responsible pet owner

  • Karen Faux

Getting involved with National Pet month provides a great way to educate children about the care and characteristics of household pets. While keeping pets in an early years setting is not generally advisable, there are lots of ways to build on children’s natural enthusiasm for them through books, role-play, small world play and discussion.

Glorious mud!

  • Karen Faux

Winter is nearly over and if you’ve recently done an audit of your outdoor space, you might now be thinking about giving your mud kitchen a revamp, and introducing some new resources. If you haven’t yet set up a mud kitchen, now is definitely the time to start planning one.

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