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The Early Years Foundation Stage

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Understanding the world is a specific area of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). According the EYFS framework “Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment”. It provides children will the tools, knowledge and skills needed to resolve real life problems .Understanding the world is broken down into three aspects - people and communities, the world and technology. This allows the children to engage with a wide range of experiences, enhancing their skills and understanding which aid in developing themselves as individuals with a wider understanding of the context in which they live.

Early Years Matters (2012) outlines the following aspects of Understanding the world; exploration and investigation; the children investigate objects and materials, learning about changes and patterns whilst looking for similarities and differences. This improves their questioning of how and why things work. Design and making where children learn about the construction process and the tools and techniques used to assemble materials. ICT is used so that the children learn how to use appropriate technology such as computers and programmable toys that are supporting and enhancing their learning. Time is when children find out about events that have occurred in the past or present which are relevant to their own lives or those of their families. Place is when the children become aware of and show an interest in the natural world. Beginning to find out about their local area, knowing what they like and dislike about it. Finally, communities is about how children begin...

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... with fewer cross-curricula links. Structurally the difference between the lessons of understanding the world in EYFS and Geography and History in key stage one and two can be difficult for many children to adapt to. With more specific guidelines to follow and more set and specific criteria to meet with Key Stage one and two it can tend to leave less room for interpretation in these sessions. The focus heavily lies on ensuring the children are meeting the expected outcomes.

The Department for Education (2012) states that “a high-quality geography education should inspire in pupils a curiosity and fascination about the world and its people that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. Teaching should equip pupils with knowledge about diverse places, people, resources and natural and human environments, together with a deep understanding of the Earth’s key
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