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The four themes of the EYFS underpin this guidance:

  • A Unique Child
  • Positive Relationships
  • Enabling Environments
  • Learning and Development


Characteristics of effective learning

These characteristics describe how a child learns. 

During their earliest years, children form attitudes about learning that will last a lifetime.  In order to inspire children to embrace a love of learning we value how children learn rather than just what they learn.  The characteristics of effective learning underpin this philosophy and support us to enable the development a growth mindset.  Children (and adults!) with a 'growth mindset' believe that intelligence and abilities can be developed through effort, persistence, trying different strategies and learning from mistakes. 

The Characteristics that we inspire are:

  • Playing and exploring (which emphasises the importance of engagement)
  • Finding out and exploring
    Using what they know in their play
    Being willing to have a go
    Active learning (focuses on motivation)
  • Being involved and concentrating
    Keeping on trying
    Enjoying and achieving what they set out to do
    Creating and thinking critically (concerned with the development of thinking skills)
  • Having their own ideas
    Using what they already know to learn new things
    Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways

The areas of learning and development

There are seven areas of learning and development that shape the curriculum in our early years setting. All areas of learning and development are important and inter-connected. Three areas are particularly crucial for igniting children’s curiosity and enthusiasm for learning, and for building their capacity to learn, form relationships and thrive.

These three areas, the prime areas, are: 

• communication and language; 
• physical development; 
• personal, social and emotional development. 

We also support children in four specific areas, through which the three prime areas are strengthened and applied. 

The specific areas are: 

• literacy; 
• mathematics; 
• understanding the world; and 
• expressive arts and design. 

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