Learning and Development

Characteristics of Effective Teaching and Learning

The Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Framework (EYFS)

Here at Newick Preschool we understand that children happily learn whilst naturally playing. We recognise the importance of a planned, well resourced environment that offers safe but challenging play experiences and opportunities to suit all children. 

When  planning and guiding children’s activities, we consider the characteristics of effective teaching and learning  and the different ways that children learn and reflect these in to our practice .

Three characteristics of effective teaching and learning are:

 playing and exploring – children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’.

 active learning – children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements.

 creating and thinking critically – children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things Children learn and develop through their play.

Newick Preschool is registered and required to deliver the EYFS following a legal document called the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework.  Chilldrens’ learning and development is planned by the team to ensure that through play and activities each child is provided with learning opportunities to match their unique needs and interests – promoting new skills and knowledge in the 7 areas of learning and development.

The 3 prime areas are the most essential for your child’s healthy development and future learning  being :       

  • Communication and language
  • Physical development
  • Personal, social and emotional development     

As children grow, the Prime Areas will help them to develop skills in 4 Specific Areas. These are:


 Mathematics.

 Understanding the world.

 Expressive arts and design .

Baseline Assessments

Children’s EYFS starting points are important in ensuring good progress in their development, clear next steps and a true reflection of their capabilities.

The EYFS underpins all children’s development and outlines the milestones each child needs to complete to meet the 17 early learning goals starting at birth being mainly developed at home and in preschool and ending in school on completion of Reception (Year R).

At Newick Preschool our team (usually the child’s allocated Key Person), gain an understanding of a child’s starting point by gathering evidence from parents/carers. This is achieved through using an information sheet about the child’s abilities for parents to complete before the child starts together with a first observation on entry to evaluate and understand where they are currently at developmentally and form the child’s stating points for their learning plan. 


We know that children happily learn whilst playing and exploring. To enable this for the children in our care we use a mixture of ‘In The Moment’ planning and some topic based planned activities. Through our reflective practice we have discovered that this approach enables us to ensure that all children are effectively provided for and as such reach their full potential.

Newick Preschool offers a carefully planned environment and curriculum to promote activities and experiences that enable and facilitate maximum opportunities for every child within our child to learn and develop. Careful observation by our team is key to utilising the in the moment planning approach – ‘opportunities to seize the moment when a child shows a level of interest and curiosity that can be drawn out and then enhanced and built upon need to be recognised’ – these are normally called ‘teachable moments’.

Our topic planning is based around key interests, likes and needs of the children within our care. We target next steps using carefully planned activities and ensure that our curriculum is inclusive for all. We also ensure that we use these planned activities to explore, for example:

  • celebrations of different faiths
  • key dates
  • our local community
  • our local environment

Observation, Assessment and Recording

Observing and assessing children during play forms an important part in identifying children’s progress, and understanding their needs, it is critical to inform planning and to identify next steps. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the learning and development process and involves your child’s Key Person observing them to understand their level of achievement, interests and learning styles and shape their learning experiences.

Evidence of your child’s learning and development is captured in your child’s Learning Journey which forms part of their development record. This is a two way shared experience and you are invited to contribute with updates and photos from home to ensure all your child’s special moment that form part of their development are captured and celebrated. When your child starts at Newick Preschool you will be given your log in details to access your child’s secure online Tapestry (Learning Journey).