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

Communication and language: Stay cool

Hilary White outlines how to discuss three key aspects of sun safety – the difference between sunshine and shade, the effects of the sun and sun protection strategies.

Understanding the world: Action stations!

In the moment planning brings a spontaneity and excitement to exploring job roles. Jenni Clarke sketches scenrios to demonstrate how learning takes off.

Understanding the world: Well watered

Now is the perfect time to talk to children about how plants grow from seeds and the conditions they need to flourish. Let them loose outdoors with a watering can to discover the joys of caring for their very own garden.

Physical development: Take a walk

The books of Emily Gravett provide a great focus for activities such as walking to the post box to post a letter home, going on a litter pick to clean up the environment or making and operating a finger puppet.

Literacy: Embrace the planet

Activities linked to the natural environment and its wildlife will encourage children to source information from reference books, record facts in writing and use different formats such as captions, labels and speech bubbles.

Maths: Master bakers

Easter baking is an opportunity to practise problem solving. Do children know what to do if they take their cakes out of the oven and they are not properly baked yet? How can they tell if a cake is cooked all the way through? It's time to decide!

Understanding the world: Beautiful butterflies

Butterflies will enjoy a national day of celebration on March 14. Make it a date for children to explore their characteristics and habitats with the help of resources available from the Wildlife Trusts. It's a great excuse to get outdoors and study nature.

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?

A trip to remember

If pitched at the right level, a trip to a historical or cultural location can be just as valuable in the early years as it is for pupils further up the school, as we found on our trip to Hampton Court Palace, says Elaine Booth, teacher at Latchmere School in Kingston-upon-Thames.

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