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Effective Learners

Characteristics of Effective Learning, and Areas of Learning and Development


The Characteristics of Effective Learning and the Prime and Specific Areas of Learning and Development are all inter-connected. Different elements of learning are identified in the EYFS, to make the complex picture of learning clearer. But children’s learning is not compartmentalised and many or all of these elements are in action at the same time as children interact with people and things.

The Characteristics of Effective Learning describe behaviours children use in order to learn. To learn well, children must approach opportunities with curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Effective learning must be meaningful to a child, so that they are able to use what they have learned and apply it in new situations. These abilities and attitudes of strong learners will support them to learn well and make good progress in all the Areas of Learning and Development.

The Areas of Learning and Development affect each other.  For example, developing communication and language will support children to understand and explain mathematical ideas. Developing physical skills will allow children to be more active explorers and so enhance their progress in Understanding the World.  The more concepts they develop within Understanding the World, the more they will be able to relate to what they find in books and so support their development in Literacy. Experiences and activities that relate to Areas of Learning and Development, when they offer children opportunities to have autonomy and develop their own ideas, can also provide the contexts for children to practise their learning behaviours,  and so reinforce the Characteristics of Effective Learning.