Play and Exploration

Early Years Support Service EYFS Framework Guide Ways of Learning:
Playing and exploring
The new EYFS framework is based on the findings of the Tickell review of the EYFS, published in spring 2011. This placed a great deal of emphasis on the importance of practitioners recognising and understanding the ways in which young children learn in order to support them as effective learners. These characteristics of learning are an integral part of the three prime and four specific areas of learning, and describe the attitudes, skills, and approaches to learning which can be nurtured in the early years.
The characteristics of effective learning are:
●● Playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.
●● Active learning – children keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy their achievements.
●● Creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas,
and develop strategies for doing things.
These three learning characteristics describe learning processes rather than outcomes. This means that how a child exhibits these characteristics should be observed as part of the formative assessment process. This will help practitioners to understand the child better, and be more equipped to support his or her development as a learner.
Helping children to become effective lifelong learners
The structure and content of the EYFS framework is based on evidence from developmental psychology (Whitebread, 2012) which highlights the central role of self-regulation in the early years as one of the key determinants of academic success later in life. The concept of self-regulation includes:
●● attitudes and dispositions for learning – the motivation, or ‘will’
●● the ability to be aware of one’s own thinking – cognitive strategies, or ‘skill’.
According to theories of intrinsic motivation, ‘will’ arises naturally within a child, and is demonstrated by a
natural, inherent...