Understanding the world

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.

Feed the birds!

As the weather gets colder and resources become scarcer, birds have to make every minute count when it comes to finding food. Teach children how they can help them to survive during the winter and fuel their fascination for the natural world.

Understanding the world: Breathe easy

Air pollution is one of the most complex aspects of the environmental crisis facing our planet. It's hard not to feel overwhelmed by its seriousness; what can we do to make a difference, and how can we address such a difficult issue with young children?

Loving the darkness

While winter’s lack of daylight hours and long, dark evenings may make most of us feel like hibernating, consider ways in which you can explore the excitement of darkness with children.

Understanding the World: Chain reaction

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.

Tuff decisions

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.

Steps to clean living

Hilary White kicks off a new series exploring how early years settings can make practical changes to become eco-friendly, while creating a dynamic environment for children to learn about conservation.

Understanding the World: Bangs and bubbles

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

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

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.

Building positive futures through intergenerational contact

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.

Marvellous museums

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.

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.

Catch a star in your net

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’

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.

On the trail for clues

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?

Everything under the sun

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

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!

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.

Expressive arts and design: Fleeting beauty

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.

Maths: Shape shifters

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.

Understanding the world: Hair raising!

Whether children have experienced a visit to the hairdresser, or had their hair cut at home, they will all enjoy hairdresser role-play. Through this they will grasp the practical and social sides of hairdressing.

Slime, glorious slime

It's easy to understand why slime has become such a popular resource with children in the last couple of years. Squishy, stretchy, jiggly or like putty, it's fascinating to manipulate, deeply mysterious and curiously addictive!

Understanding the World: Fresh new shoots

It’s time to get ready for Spring and plan outdoor adventures, where children can spot butterflies, birds and wild flowers. Support them to understand seasonal differences, change and the passage of time.

Embrace creative fundraising

Taking part in fundraising events creates happy memories for children and tells them that they can play a part in changing the world. There are also lots of ways to link events to learning in the EYFS.

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