Characteristics
of Effective
Teaching & Learning

There are 3 Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning:

Playing & Exploring

Active Learning

Creating & Thinking Critically

The Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning (CoETL 2021) are a critical part of the Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage 2021 and develop alongside the EYFS areas of learning.

These characteristics look at how children learn – attitudes including ‘having a go’, ‘keeping on trying’ and ‘enjoying achieving what they set out to do’ are supported throughout activities and experiences daily.

Our aim is for every child to have a positive attitude to learning through play and exploration, alongside sensitive and encouraging interactions with adults.

The different rates at which children are developing are reflected in our teaching and the opportunities we offer them.

Playing and exploring – engagement

Finding out and exploring

Children are innately curious, and with open-ended resources and many sensory experiences, they are able to explore and show their interests.

Using what they know in their play

Children bring together what they see and experience into their imaginative play. They get the chance to play with what they like, what is familiar to them, and practice their skills to support the development of story telling. They pretend objects are something from their experience and act out experiences with other people. Our home corner and small world resources are helpful tools to encourage children to do so.

Being willing to ‘have a go’

Activities which challenge and supportive adults who encourage children to ‘have a go’ enable children to develop independence, resilience and perseverance – all key skills for life learning. Learning by trial and error and taking risks exploring new activities help children develop a positive sense of self and their abilities.

Active learning – motivation

Being involved and concentrating

As children develop, their natural curiosity enables them to learn more about their world. Children are motivated to learn through exciting experiences on offer, for example, sensory play for babies or building an exploding volcano with older children. High levels of fascination help children to concentrate for longer periods as they grow older, learning to maintain focus on child chosen and adult led activities.

Keeping on trying

Perseverance is key to success and adults support and encourage children to persist with an activity to achieve a sense of success. Children are encouraged to think differently, trying out different ways to do things in order to overcome difficulties. This enables children ‘s skills to develop and grow further.

Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

Children are helped to develop an ‘I can’ attitude – setting themselves goals and being proud of their achievements. Adults encourage older children to celebrate their success with others, talking about the process they followed to achieve success. Children learn a sense of intrinsic satisfaction.

Creating and thinking critically – thinking

Having their own ideas

Children learn to explore the possibilities of open-ended resources, finding their own ways to do things and talking about their thoughts with others – both adults and friends. Creativity is key, with an emphasis on the process, not always the end product.

Making links

As children play, they create links and notice patterns in their experiences, enabling them to apply their learning to a wider variety of experiences. Activities allow children to test their ideas, make predictions and understand ’cause and effect’.

Choosing ways to do things and finding new ways

Planning and making decisions are key life skills and children are developing these skills from an early age. Opportunities for choosing in the environment such as selecting toys from low level shelving, or deciding which cereal to have for breakfast all promote each child’s ever growing independence. In choosing activities, children learn to check how well their activity is going, solve problems and change their strategy as needed.