Understanding of 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.
This area offers children opportunities to explore and observe the environment, living things and objects. To give children the best opportunities through Positive Relationships, parents’ and carers’ knowledge extend children’s experiences of the world. In Enabling Environments, open-ended questions like, “How can we..?” and “What would happen if…?” are used. Learning and Development is based on first-hand experiences to observe, predict, make decisions and discuss.
UW is made up of these aspects:
- Past and Present
- People, Culture and Communities
- The Natural World
Within the new curriculum there has been quite a change to the aspects within this area. Previously technology was a separate aspect but it is now throughout all the different areas of learning. It is easier to see where the National curriculum subjects have their basis for learning, i.e. history and science.
This area of learning and development covers how children learn about the natural, physical and technological worlds around them.
Helping your child to learn about the world. There are lots of easy ways you can help your child to learn more about the world.
You could use the ideas below as starting points to help you do this.
Two- to three-year-olds
● Children of this age are very eager to explore the world around them by being curious about what they see,
hear, and touch, and by asking questions. It is important that parents encourage this curiosity.
● When your child discovers things of interest try to explain the science behind her discoveries – for example,
look into a soup spoon and notice the different reflections in the concave and convex sides of the spoon.
● If your child enjoys drawing and mark making, you could provide paper and crayons or a pencil for your child
to draw what they have found out.
● Find some dandelion seed heads and blow the dandelion clocks for your child to watch, catch, and blow by himself.
● Give your child a small ‘collector’s bag’ to talk with her to carry treasures you find when you go out for a walk.
● On a sunny day, in winter as well summer, go on a shadow hunt with your child – look at the shapes, sizes and
positions of the shadows. Try to catch your shadow.
● When you are buying presents for your child, think about buying a wooden framed magnifying glass, a large
horseshoe magnet or a bug collecting pot.
Four- to five-year-olds
● By the time your child is four or five he will have developed interests and fascinations which you could support
to encourage his learning across all areas of learning and development.
● Listen carefully to what your child has to say when she discovers something of interest; try challenging her to
explain her ideas to you as this will help her to develop her thinking skills.
● When you choose presents for your child, think about buying things which will develop his or her science skills
– choose toys and games which show mechanisms and how things work, how living things and objects move
and the effects of magnetism, light, electricity and sound.
● Try making a wildlife area in your garden or patio area to provide food, shelter, and a breeding ground for
birds, snails, spiders, insects, and small invertebrates. Your child can then discover how a variety of things
live and behave.
● After it has rained, investigate puddles near your home – look for reflections and watch how the puddles shrink
as the water evaporates. You could also have fun splashing in the puddles!
● Help your child to plant a variety of seeds – flowers and vegetables – in your garden, hanging basket or
window box. You can make growing beds using an old tyre, bucket, watering can, or wheelbarrow.
● You can grow cress in an indoor planter using half an egg shell. Paint a face on the egg shell, fill it with fine
soil or seed compost, and sprinkle cress seeds into the shell. In a few days you will be able to watch the ‘hair’
grow and then enjoy eating the cress.