Understanding the World involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.
The Early Learning Goal for Understanding the World aims to ensure that all pupils, by the end of Reception:
Develop an understanding of Past and Present so that they can:
- Talk about the lives of the people around them and their roles in society.
- Know some similarities and differences between things in the past and now, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
- Understand the past through settings, characters and events encountered in books read in class and storytelling.
Develop an understanding of People, Culture and Communities so that they can:
- Describe their immediate environment using knowledge from observation, discussion, stories, non-fiction texts and maps.
- Know some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in this country, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
- Explain some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries, drawing on knowledge from stories, non-fiction texts and – when appropriate – maps.
Develop an understanding of The Natural World so that they can:
- Explore the natural world around them, making observations and drawing pictures of animals and plants.
- Know some similarities and differences between the natural world around them and contrasting environments, drawing on their experiences and what has been read in class.
- Understand some important processes and changes in the natural world around them, including the seasons and changing states of matter.
Through our EYFS curriculum at Saint Patrick’s, we aim to ensure that our children develop their skills to make sense of the world around them and enrich their understanding of it.
Our curriculum aims to ensure that pupils:
- Can talk about the lives of a range of people around them and the important roles they play within society, for example the police, fire service, doctors, nurses and paramedics.
- Can recognise that there are similarities and differences between the past and now and can use their own experiences alongside information read in class to talk about these.
- Learn about the past in different ways.
- Can describe the environment around them in Reception and the wider environment within school.
- Can talk about some similarities and differences between different religious and cultural communities in the UK, using their experiences in class.
- Can talk about some similarities and differences between life in this country and life in other countries.
- Can explore the natural world around them, observing and talking about what they see, making observational drawings of plants and animals.
- Can talk about some similarities and differences in the natural world around them and can make comparisons with contrasting environments.
- Can describe some changes in the natural world around them including seasonal changes and changes in states of matter.
We recognise that we have children at differing stages of development in their Understanding the World and we seek to provide suitable learning opportunities throughout our EYFS by matching the challenge of the task to the child’s ability. We achieve this by:
- Setting open-ended tasks which can have a variety of responses.
- Providing a range of resources and learning experiences of different complexity depending on the stage of development of the child.
- Using different levels of questioning to develop understanding.
- Modelling and scaffolding learning in different ways.
At Saint Patrick’s, we believe that the welcoming, respectful environment, enriched in Catholic morals and teachings, continues to enhance the educational and pastoral experience of every individual passing through our doors, to ensure that they develop and become well-rounded individuals within the community, with the ambition to reach their potential and succeed.
We recognise the unique needs of each child and support them in developing the whole child. We have a supportive ethos and our approaches support the children in developing both their collaborative and independent skills. The impact of our teaching of Understanding the World is measured in the experiences, confidence and competence of our children within this area of learning. We ensure children receive the experiences they require, both within and beyond the curriculum, to develop their skills and knowledge and become confident in their understanding of the world around them.