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April Blog 2022: Characteristics of Effective Learning.

April 10, 2022

The Characteristics of Effective Learning

Playing and exploring-engagement

Finding out and exploring:

  • Showing curiosity about objects, events, and people.
  • Using senses to explore the world around them.
  • Engaging in open ended activity.
  • Showing particular interest.

Playing with what they know

  • Representing their experiences.
  • Pretending objects are things from their experience.

Being willing to have a go

  • Initiating activities.
  • Seeking challenge.
  • Showing a can-do attitude.
  • Taking a risk, engaging in new experiences, and learning by trial and error.

Active Learning-motivation

Being involved and concentrating:

  • Maintaining focus on their activity for a long time.
  • Showing high levels of energy, fascination.
  • Not easily distracted.
  • Pay attention to detail.

Keep on trying

  • Persisting with an activity when challenges occur.
  • Showing a belief that more effort or a different approach will pay off.
  • Bouncing back after difficulties.

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

  • Showing satisfaction in meeting their own goals.
  • Being proud of how they accomplish something-not just the end result.
  • Enjoying meeting the challenges for their own sake rather than external reward.

Why are they important?

Children develop and learn in the context of the relationships and environment around them – that means you and the space that you provide.

Children need to be motivated to learn. The characteristics of effective learning embrace all the attributes we would wish for a child to have. We want every child to achieve their best, with the highest possible level of attainment.

Motivation and persistence are essential for success. We want children to not only succeed in the Early Years, but to become lifelong learners.

If we integrate the Characteristics of Effective Learning into any setting, we must provide an environment which ensures these different types of learning can occur.

How do we teach children the characteristics of effective Learning?

Play fits perfectly with the characteristics of effective learning. In play, a child has autonomy. High quality play shows children in charge and displaying the characteristics.

Art can also, be seen to embrace all the characteristics of effective learning, through the exploration and investigation of materials and learning through first-hand experiences by using tools, with guided participation and scaffolding from the adult, and being creative. These factors are essential to ensure children develop and maintain an effective style of learning.


A Stimulating and Exciting Environment

The environment is often referred to as the ‘third teacher’. With the right environment, children can learn independently. So, practitioners need to provide a rich, inquisitive environment to encourage children’s natural curiosity, awe, and wonder. 

The emotional environment

It is important to remember children do not touch, see, or hear passively – they feel, look, and listen actively. Observe your children, what do they instinctively enjoy?

You can help them learn a great deal in an environment they feel comfortable in, remembering to consider well-being and belonging.

Open-ended and Natural Resources

  • Provide stimulating resources, which are accessible and open-ended.
  • The environment should be calm and inviting. Remember to think about using neutral colours and soft lighting in areas.
  • Resources should encourage challenge.
  • Provide provocations in the children’s interests.
  • Slippers on children and adult feet indoors, lowers noise levels and reduces the idea of running inside, which is often an issue.

Uninterrupted Outdoor Play

Children need free access to the outside, so that they can explore.  Children need long periods of uninterrupted play to be able to really play and explore.

After many years of observations, we concluded that children needed at least three quarters of an hour to relax into and become absorbed in activities.

Do not be tempted to break or interrupt play. This can be damaging to learning.

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