What Does Teaching and Learning look Like in EYFS

“Teaching should not be taken to imply a ‘top down’ or formal way of working. It is a broad term that covers the many different ways in which adults help young children learn. It includes their interactions with children during planned and child-initiated play and activities: communicating and modelling language, showing, explaining, demonstrating, exploring ideas, encouraging, questioning, recalling, providing a narrative for what they are doing, facilitating and setting challenges. It takes account of the equipment adults provide and the attention given to the physical environment, as well as the structure and routines of the day that establish expectations.”

Ofsted September 2015

That said, you might see our staff working alongside your child in this was…

Our role/Interaction When might we do this?
I commented Extending language/thinking out oud
I modelled

I demonstrated

Using a new resource, technique or language e.g. language to describe thinking to support children to think about their learning.

Applying knowledge e.g. knowledge of counting or letter sounds.

I asked

I wondered

Posing a problem to encourage deeper thinking or involvement.

t could be part of modelling thinking out loud as you and a child explore a problem together.

I helped Helping a child to do something so they can see an idea through and continue to engage in an activity.
I explained Providing information linked to child’s activity/interest that increases their knowledge/understanding
I encouraged Supporting children to negotiate conflicts, agree rules or find a way to take turns. Offering emotional support so that a child feels ok to have a go at something new.
I introduced

I suggested

Perhaps giving new information to extend an activity e.g. suggesting that there is a fire in the woods when children are playing firefighters.
I provided Perhaps providing additional resources or suggesting he right resources for the task the child is trying to complete. It could be getting a book or laptop to find out information a child is looking for e.g. videos of cows being milked.


The children set the agenda and the adults are there to show interest and engage with the children. As they interact, the adults will look for ‘teachable moments’ – moments in which they can move the learning forward. They might model vocabulary or a skill, provide a resource, give encouragement, help with a small part of a process, comment, explain or ponder.

When children show high levels of involvement, that is when there is progress and development occurring – when the brain is at its most active. High level involvement occurs most often when children are able to pursue their own interests in an enabling environment.

In the moment planning helps to make this possible because young children are experiencing and learning in the here and now, not storing up their questions until tomorrow or next week. It is in that moment of curiosity, puzzlement, effort or interest – the ‘teachable moment’ – that the skilful adult makes a difference. By using this cycle on a moment by moment basis, the adult will always be alert to individual children (observation) always thinking about what it tells us about the child’s thinking (assessment) and always ready to respond by using appropriate strategies at the right moment to support children’s well-being and learning (planning for the next moment).”


Mrs. Quinn


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