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: To the lighthouse

Mr Grinling is probably one of the most famous lighthouse keepers in the world, brought to life by Ronda Armitage in her series of classic children's books. There are lots of ways to use them to explore peoples' occupations and life-styles.

Literacy: Cold calling

Where Snowflakes Fall by Claire Freedman is a picture book that explores the beauty of the polar regions and is perfect for inspiring children to create role-play scenarios that will lay the foundation for early writing.

Understanding the world: In character

Use the January birthday of author A A Milne to explore the world of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet, Tigger and more by going on a walk and identifying hidey-holes where these characters could find a home.

Understanding the world: Swirl by swirl

Give children time to explore patterns in nature and develop their ability to appreciate and identify shape and design. Learning is maximised when it is led by children as part of in the moment planning, explains Jenni Clarke.

Understanding the world: Meet the yoga people

Sports and exercise around the world makes a great theme to explore as it encompasses culture, inclusion, thinking about your likes as an individual and how these may differ from others after. Try these activities to get children talking!

Understanding the world: Feeling crushed

Extend children's understanding of recycling by involving them in making paper and experiencing the changes in its properties when it becomes pulped and mushy.

While we can’t hug…

Following on from his bestselling book The Hug, author Eoin McLaughlin has written this genuine book for our time, talking to young children about social distancing. Find out more about how to share this book!

Latest Features

Things to do on a rainy afternoon

A rainy day in doors doesn’t have to mean a day stuck in front of the TV or computer. There are lots of activities to keep children occupied – and still learning. Painting, baking, and other arts and crafts are just some of the great ways to boost their creativity. Here are some activities that are perfect for wet weather days.

Forest school: Working its magic

Maureen Lee describes how a study visit to Denmark has inspired a group of practitioners to take their forest school practice to the next level and use it as a springboard for important research.

Born into a digital world

With some children accessing technology for disproportionate amounts of time at home, how important is it for settings to try to combat the negative effects of screen-time?

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