Knowledge and understanding of the world

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Children must be supported in developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that help them to make sense of the world. Their learning must be supported through offering opportunities for them to use a range of tools safely; encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and in real-life situations; undertake practical 'experiments'; and work with a range of materials.

Aspects of Knowledge and Understanding of the World

Knowledge and Understanding of the World is made up of the following aspects:

  • Exploration and Investigation – is about how children investigate objects and materials and their properties, learn about change and patterns, similarities and differences, and question how and why things work.
  • Designing and Making – is about the ways in which children learn about the construction process and the tools and techniques that can be used to assemble materials creatively and safely.
  • ICT – is about how children find out about and learn how to use appropriate information technology such as computers and programmable toys that support their learning.
  • Time – is about how children find out about past and present events relevant to their own lives or those of their families.
  • Place – is about how children become aware of and interested in the natural world, and find out about their local area, knowing what they like and dislike about it.
  • Communities – is about how children begin to know about their own and other people's cultures in order to understand and celebrate the similarities and differences between them in a diverse society.

What Knowledge and Understanding of the World means for children

  • Babies and children find out about the world through exploration and from a variety of sources, including their families and friends, the media, and through what they see and hear.
  • Babies and children need regular opportunities to learn about different ways of life, to be given accurate information and to develop positive and caring attitudes towards others.
  • Children should be helped to learn to respect and value all people and learn to avoid misapprehensions and negative attitudes towards others when they develop their Knowledge and Understanding of the World.
  • Children should be involved in the practical application of their knowledge and skills which will promote self-esteem through allowing them to make decisions about what to investigate and how to do it.

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