EYFS areas of Learning & Development
Your planning, for babies and toddlers, should be based around PLAY and...
1. Children's interests and schemas / learning styles;
2. The time of the year - seasons, weather etc;
3. Important times in the children's lives;
4. What the children are doing in other settings eg. at home or in nursery.
Do not waste your time writing complicated plans about themed activities for little ones. That is not what their sessions with you should be about and you will be wasting your time as they will be mostly disinterested.
I have talked about planning an engaging and exciting environment and linking observations to planning for 0 - 3 year old children in my e-book 17, Play and activities for under 3s. It is available from my website.
Your planning, for older children (usually aged 3 upwards), should be based around PLAY and...
1. Children's interests and schemas / learning styles;
2. The time of the year - seasons, weather etc;
3. Multicultural and diverse festivals and celebrations;
4. Important times in the children's lives;
5. A mixture of carefully planned themed activities that you know will interest the children;
6. What the children are doing in other settings eg. at home or in nursery;
7. Things that are going on in your local community that are of interest to the children;
8. Important Government health and safety projects such as healthy eating and road safety campaigns.
I have written a lot about planning for older children e-book 43 'Learning and Play over 3s' - available from my website.
Here are some ideas for using the 7 areas of learning and development in your planning...
Personal social and emotional development – PSED
PSED is one of the prime areas of learning. Here are some ideas for planning an activity which supports children’s learning and development in PSED...
Activity idea - caring for animals
Encourage the children to adopt a Beanie Baby cat or dog for a week. They should think about all the things they need to keep the cat or dog healthy, including a bowl for food and water, a brush, a blanket etc. Support them to remember to look after their cat or dog each time they come to you... intended learning - to care for others
Literacy - read dog books – Hairy Maclary by Lynley Dodd; Spot the dog by Eric Hill; Clifford the big red dog etc... intended learning - to extend children's interests;
Communication and language - talk to the children about pets they have at home. Encourage them to share home stories with the group... intended learning - develop confidence and self esteem through talking in group situations;
Understanding the world (community) and Literacy - visit the library and borrow a non-fiction dog book to learn more... intended learning - to read and understand more by reading relevant texts;
Mathematics - buy some dog bones (the biscuit ones) and use them for sizing and shape games... intended learning - incorporate shape and number games in children's activities;
Understanding the world - this is an interesting fable about a dog and his bone, which older children especially might enjoy here... intended learning - find out about the world about us through stories;
Physical development - encourage the children to pretend to be dogs and play a version of ‘Simon Says’ in the garden. This will encourage them to be active, after which you can discuss how it is good to use energy and drink more water as a result... intended learning - develop gross motor skills and stay healthy;
Expressive arts and design - sing some dog songs – ‘Hey diddle, diddle the cat and the fiddle’; ‘Bingo’; ‘Knick knack paddy whack / this old man he played ... one on the drum, two on the shoe, three on the knee, four on the floor’; ‘Old mother Hubbard’; ‘How much is that doggie in the window’; ‘Old Macdonald’s Farm’ etc... intended learning - support the children to enjoy a range of songs and rhymes
Communication and language - C & L
Communication and language is one of the prime areas of learning. Here are some ideas for planning an activity which supports children’s learning and development in communication and language...
Activity idea - Elmer the Elephant
C & L - Support children to learn about the letter ‘E’. You could cut the letter out of sandpaper or card for them to trace and the children might enjoy writing ‘E’ for Elmer in the messy tray, with sand or soil… intended learning - to learn about initial letters;
Link C & L to PSED - put together a set of elephants – shop at car boot sales, charity shops etc. Encourage children to play with the elephants and share / take turns… intended learning - to share; to treat resources with respect;
Link C & L to literacy - E’ is an easy letter to make in playdough and if the dough was all different colours, you could talk about how it looks like Elmer… intended learning - talk about and learn initial letters;
Link C & L to maths - Use some of your plastic elephants to make repeating patterns with their feet. You can do this with paint, in the messy tray, in a mud patch in the garden etc… intended learning - to explore patterns;
Link C & L to understanding the world - Explore colour mixing by freezing some paint in ice cubes... and watching it defrost… use scientific experiments to show how things change;
Link C & L to physical development - Learn this elephant action rhyme and do the actions together (children enjoy it much more if you join in too) –
‘An elephant walks like this and that,
He’s terribly tall and terribly fat.
He has no fingers, he has no toes,
But goodness, gracious, what a long nose! ‘
Intended learning - use gross and fine motor skills.
Link C & L to arts and design - Listen to ‘Carnival of the Animals’ by Camille Saint-Saëns and dance along to the music… intended learning - music and movement.
Physical development - PD
Physical development is one of the prime areas of learning. Here are some ideas for planning an activity which supports children’s learning and development in PD...
Activity Idea- national smile week
Physical development - Commit to stop the rot together and send off for a pack which includes a crocodile with the same amount of teeth as the children… intended learning - being healthy
Link physical development to PSED - Talk about how to brush teeth – how long it should take and the direction we should brush. Involve children in making a poster together to display in the bathroom… intended learning - Working together to produce something for the good of all;
Link physical development to communication and language - learn the names of the different types of teeth and what they do with the children… intended learning - expand children’s vocabulary;
Link physical development to communication and language - Don’t eat the teacher’ by Nick Ward is a funny book about Sammy the Shark who nibbles things when he is excited... his teacher is a little nervous on his first day at school… intended learning - to find humour in stories;
Link physical development to maths - Make a tooth brushing line with pictures drawn by and decorated by you and the children. Lay the pictures out and see if children sequence the activities in the right order – get toothbrush from its pot… intended learning - counting;
Link physical development to understanding the world - For 3 years and over - give each child a disclosing tablet (with permission from parents) and a hand-held child-safe mirror – let them see their teeth and help them brush off the tablet colour; younger children will enjoy looking at their teeth and pulling faces in the mirrors – give them some funny faces to copy and have the camera handy… intended learning - Use science in a playful way to promote learning;
Link physical development to art and design - Cut out pictures of food from magazines and discuss which are tooth friendly and which aren’t. Now stick them onto different plates – 1 healthy eating plate decorated with a big, white smile and 1 unhealthy eating plate decorated with blackened teeth… intended learning - use crafts to promote healthy living.
Literacy is one of the specific areas of learning and development. Literacy learning and development covers the following aspects -
Note that children’s early mark making is linked to physical development (handling - fine motor skills) rather than to literacy.
It is important that children are given regular opportunities to engage with the written word - in the house, in the garden and when you are on outings.
A love of books and literature will develop as children are exposed to a variety of books and other reading materials such as comics, menus, posters etc which link in to their interests, learning styles and home language.
Mathematics - maths
Mathematics is one of the specific areas of learning and development. Here are some ideas for planning an activity which supports children’s learning and development in mathematics...
Theme - birthdays
Notes - children usually learn numbers that are important to them before others... this is another good reason to make a big fuss of birthdays and make sure the child feels special (and other children feel supported as there may be jealousy considerations).
Mathematics - Make a birthday cake with the children and involve them in weights and measures; decorate the cake with sprinkles – who can count them all?
Now decide how old the children think teddy is. They can make him some candles from decorated tubes of cardboard;
Intended learning - use numbers in cooking; explore weights and measures;
Link maths to PSED - Introduce a teddy to the setting, complete with a little bag, blanket, tooth brush, letter of introduction (think Paddington’s label) and a notebook and pencils. The teddy can go home with the children at weekends... but first, he needs a birthday party! Intended learning - caring for others;
Link maths to communication and language - make a word wall of words linked to the teddy bear / birthday theme… intended learning - to extend children’s vocabulary;
Link maths to Literacy - plan to write some invitations to teddy’s party. The children can make a list of people to invite (include the cuddly toys of course) and decorate the invitations… intended learning - use mark making for a purpose;
Link maths to understanding the world - look up lots of pictures of teddies on Google images. When children have found their favourite (PSED) let them print it themselves and use it in a big teddy display that you can make together… intended learning - technology
Link maths to physical development - Enjoy a healthy birthday party food... and a few special treats. Make sure children understand that the treats are special occasion food… intended learning - healthy eating;
Link maths to art and design - encourage the children to make a birthday card or design a present for teddy. They can make and decorate a hat for him (and themselves) if they wish as well… intended learning - being creative.
Understanding the world - UW
Understanding the World is one of the specific areas of learning and development. Here are some ideas for planning an activity which supports children’s learning and development in UW...
Activity idea - penguins
Understanding the world - Explore warm and cold by using some ice cubes in warm water in the messy tray. When they are melted slightly, they can be used for building as they stick together better… intended learning - to find out about the world about us through hands on experimentation;
Link understanding the world to PSED - Send a penguin card to a friend – talk about friendship… intended learning - promote friendships;
Link understanding the world to communication and language and PSED - talk to the children about penguins. Do they like penguins? What do they know about penguins?
Link understanding the world to literacy - read a penguin book, eg ‘Cuddly Dudley’ by Jez Alborough; ‘Penguin Pete’ by Marcus Pfister or ‘Tacky the Penguin’ by Helen Leister; buy and read a magazine featuring ‘Pingu’… intended learning - to read and understand more by reading relevant texts;
Link understanding the world to maths - think about oval shapes and make a penguin with the free template from here… intended learning - exploring shapes;
Link understanding the world to physical development - penguins take care of their babies by holding them on their feet! Can the children do a penguin shuffle holding a ball on the tops of their feet? The other movements children can copy to be like penguins are slides on their tummies (down the slide maybe?) and a funny little waddle (like Julie Andrews in ‘Mary Poppins’ when she’s dancing with Bert). Play the music on you tube and dance along… intended learning - music and movement; gross motor skills;
Link understanding the world to art and design - talk about the colours ‘black’ and ‘white’ and make lots of scenes using eg white chalk on black paper, black paint on white paper, black handprints etc… intended learning - exploring colours.
Expressive arts and design - A & D
Art and design is one of the specific areas of learning and development. Here are some ideas for planning an activity which supports children’s learning and development in A & D...
Activity idea – Incy Wincy Spider
Art and design - Sing rainy day songs including – ‘It’s raining, it’s pouring’, ‘Dr Foster went to Gloucester’, ‘Rain, rain, go away’ and ‘I hear thunder’; other opposites songs include – ‘Polly put the kettle on’, ‘Jack and Jill’ and the ‘Grand old duke of York’; other spider songs include ‘Little Miss Muffet’.
Link art and design to PSED - talk about spiders as part of our environment and the world around us and encourage the children to be nice to spiders, who are probably more frightened of us than we are of them because they are so tiny… intended learning - being kind to animals;
Link art and design to communication and language - put together a song sack with the children. Ideas for contents include…
· Soft toy spider;
· Length of drainpipe to slide puppet down;
· Weather pictures or symbols;
· Non- fiction spider book;
· Orchard Toys Incy Wincy game;
· Poster of the rhyme (include sign language if possible);
· Recording of the children joining in with the song;
· The words ‘up’ and ‘down’ and an arrow for each, laminated;
· Craft materials to make a spider.
Link art and design to literacy - Borrow a copy of Eric Carle’s ‘The Very busy Spider’ from the Library and leave some non-fiction books about arachnids for children to explore in the book box… intended learning - exploring non fiction books;
Link art and design to maths - count spiders legs – younger children will possibly be more confident counting four fingers on one hand and then 4 on the other… intended learning - count using fingers and numbers in the correct order;
Link art and design to understanding the world - Incy Wincy spider is great for including in themes about the weather (rain and sun). Sing the song when it is raining outside and watch the raindrops rolling down the windows… intended learning - find out about the weather;
Link art and design to physical development - use a model spider to role play the song and use your hands to raise the spider then let him fall, before climbing up again… intended learning - develop gross motor control and hand eye coordination.
I hope you have found these examples useful. I have talked in detail about each area of learning and development in e-book 34 'The 7 areas of learning and development of the EYFS'
You will find lots of examples of planning for individuals and groups of children in e-book 15 'EYFS Planning'.
All my e-books are available on my Knutsford Childminding website.