Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning in the Early Years

A new report published last month by a coalition of 12 Early Years sector organisations highlights the importance of the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning in the Early Years and suggests that it should be given greater prominence within the EYFS Statutory Framework. But what exactly are the characteristics and how can you ensure that you are implementing them into your everyday practice as an Early Years educator?

What are the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning?

The characteristics are split into three categories:
  • Playing and Exploring – engagement
  • Active Learning – motivation
  • Creating and Thinking Critically – thinking
Playing and Exploring
Playing and Exploring is all about how the child engages in learning. It can be broken down into three further areas:
  • Finding out and exploring
  • Playing with what they know
  • Being willing to ‘have a go’
Active Learning
The characteristic Active Learning should not be mistaken for physical activity. Active learning centres on how the child is motivated in their learning. It covers three main areas:
  • Being involved and concentrating
  • Keeping on trying
  • Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
Creating and Thinking Critically
This characteristic is all about children thinking, making choices, seeing connections between different skills and making sense of their experiences and interactions. It looks at how children are able to adapt their approaches when they cross stumbling blocks and how they link ideas and previous experiences. It covers the following three areas:
  • Having their own ideas
  • Using what they know to learn new things
  • Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways

Overall, the Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning focus on the processes of learning, the thinking that is applied and the attitudes that are being displayed. It requires you to look for those teachable moments to encourage, support and model all of the positive behaviours involved in each characteristic, which in turn will help your children develop into effective learners.

For more information on the Characteristics of Teaching and Learning and to find out how you can implement them into your setting, check out The Characteristics of Effective Learning article by education expert Lorelli Mojica.

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