Understanding of the World

  • People and communities
  • The world
  • Technology


This area of learning gives children the understanding, knowledge and skills needed to make sense of the world around them. It encourages children to explore, experiment and be creative thinkers. It forms a foundation for later work in science, design technology, history, geography and information and communication technology.

At Douglas Valley we provide a wide range of opportunities for children to explore; investigate; talk about what they are doing; use construction kits and other materials to build; talk about their families, homes and communities; become aware of the world around them; talk about significant events and events and begin to gain an understanding of other cultural traditions and beliefs.

Children will be encouraged to:

  • Explore, investigate and talk about their immediate environment and things that are familiar to them
  • Explore the natural world around them and natural events that take place in it
  • Explore and recognise features of the man made world
  • Observe similarities, differences and changes. Talk about their observations and sometimes record them
  • Ask questions and seek answers
  • Talk about where they live, their families and past and present events in their lives
  • Recognise their own cultures and beliefs and experience the cultures and beliefs of others
  • Use a variety of materials and equipment to develop the skills needed for cutting, joining and folding
  • Use a range of equipment to develop building skills
  • Use technology to support their learning


The development of this area of learning is founded in the use of practical activity. We provide multi – sensory activities. Children have opportunities to use all of their senses to explore, they are encouraged to consider, question, try out and try again within a supportive environment. Practitioners use open ended questioning to develop vocabulary, help children to think things through, predict and speculate on what might happen. Children are also encouraged to show their peers what they have done and talk about their work.

The areas of continuous provision support many aspects of this area of learning. Sand, water and malleable activities give children opportunities to explore, investigate and recognise change.

Children can access materials and equipment in the ‘creative area’ to cut, join and fold. The children also have access to a range of construction materials and resources in both the indoor and outdoor environments.

Computers and an interactive whiteboard are available to extend their learning. All of the areas of continuous provision can be accessed by children independently, supported by adult interventions and adult led activities.

The outdoor environment provides a variety of opportunities to explore and investigate the natural world and natural events, such as gardening, wild life and weather. Alongside the adult led activities practitioners build on children’s natural curiosity by following children’s interests to promote learning.

Children are encouraged to share news and special experiences, talk about where they live and their local community during key person group times and informally with practitioners at any time. A series of activities and experiences relating to cultural traditions and beliefs are planned throughout the year.

The progress children make in understanding of the world is judged against the development matters statements in the Early Years Foundation Stage.