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

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.

Nets provide a great material for creating dens that can be constructed quickly and easily

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.

Children will enjoy discovering which plants can grow in pots

‘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.

Concealment is a great narrative theme which children can develop

On the trail for clues

  • Hilary White

Introduce children to the excitement of discovering ‘hidden things’ and link picture books with a discovery theme to events in their own life. Can they understand how one clue leads to another?

Maths: Shape shifters

  • Judith Harries, teacher, Northampton

The sand tray is a great place to focus on numbers and shapes. Use a variety of materials in wet and dry sand to encourage children to sort, count, name and measure a variety of shapes.

Expressive arts and design: Fleeting beauty

  • Karen Hart, teacher and education writer, London

Enhance children’s understanding of transience by encouraging them to make artworks from blossom and ice. Support them to experiment with a range of natural materials, appreciating their delicacy.

Latest Features

Positive relationships flourish at Apples and Honey Nightingale House

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.

Children will enjoy discovering which plants can grow in pots

‘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.

Concealment is a great narrative theme which children can develop

On the trail for clues

  • Hilary White

Introduce children to the excitement of discovering ‘hidden things’ and link picture books with a discovery theme to events in their own life. Can they understand how one clue leads to another?

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.

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