Early Years

Learning Environment

Robust observation, assessment and planning are crucial in order to support children’s development and learning. Babies and young children are individuals first, each with a unique profile of abilities so all planning must start with observing children in order to understand and consider their current interests, development and learning. Practitioner’s observations of children help them to assess the progress which children are making and help them to decide where children are in their learning and development. This is an essential part of daily practice in any setting, regardless of the age of the baby or child.

Additional Guidance about Observation in the EYFS

A high-quality EYFS learning environment involves both the people and the space in which children can develop. The environment must offer children opportunities to explore and learn with the support of sensitive, knowledgeable adults. The environment must reflect the different ways that children learn and provide children with open-ended opportunities to foster positive Characteristics of Effective Learning.

Children require space, indoors and outdoors, where they can be active or quiet and engage in sensory exploration with natural and manufactured resources. Resources should be freely available, well-organised, regularly refreshed and accessible to children to facilitate independent choices.

Top Tips
  • A high-quality learning environment must offer children a flexible space which is appropriate for their age and stage of development.
  • The provision must have depth and breadth, fulfilling the learning and development requirements of the EYFS.
  • The environment must be adaptable to ensure each child receives a personal learning journey which is based on their own individual interests and experiences.
  • The structure of the session must be designed to allow children to make choices and engage in continuous periods of uninterrupted play.
  • Children will learn best through leading their own play and by taking part in play which is guided by adults; they build their confidence through exploration, thinking about problems and relating to others. Is your environment set up to promote and facilitate the Characteristics of Effective Learning.

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