Everything you need to know about Early Years Tuition in one place

All children are unique, and during these early stages of learning they will begin to develop positive relationships in an enabling environment... that's the recipe for  good Early Years Learning.

Because all children develop at their own speed and in their own unique way, the following shouldn't be seen as an exhaustive list of development characteristics - but should be used as a reference to help parents understand the range of ways that children can develop up to school year 1. 

At this age, the way a child can learn is split into three broad (and overlapping) categories; Playing and Exploring; Active Learning; and Creating and thinking critically. These help early learning specialists to distinguish between the method by which children approach an activity.

The first years of a child's learning journey have a massive impact on their lives later on. Click on the pictures below to learn more about good practice in Early Years learning and what you can expect from educational play at this age. Or alternatively you can click here to download a useful pdf of all the Early Learning Goals that are mentioned here.

Or if your have specific question or want some free advice, get in contact and we will do whatever we can to help.

 
Click to learn a little about personal, social and emotional development up to year 1.

Click to learn a little about personal, social and emotional development up to year 1.

Click to learn a little about personal, social and emotional development up to year 1.

Click to learn a little about personal, social and emotional development up to year 1.

Click to learn a little about personal, social and emotional development up to year 1.

Click to learn a little about personal, social and emotional development up to year 1.

Click to find out about encouraging a love of books and reading from a young age.

Click to find out about encouraging a love of books and reading from a young age.

Click here to learn a little bit more about encouraging confidence with numbers, space and measure at an early age.

Click here to learn a little bit more about encouraging confidence with numbers, space and measure at an early age.

Click here to learn a little bit more about encouraging confidence with numbers, space and measure at an early age.

Click here to learn a little bit more about encouraging confidence with numbers, space and measure at an early age.

Click to learn a little about art, music, dance and expression at this age.

Click to learn a little about art, music, dance and expression at this age.

We've collected some of the best resources on the web to help parents with great activities. All for free!

We've collected some of the best resources on the web to help parents with great activities. All for free!

We've collected some of the best resources on the web to help parents with great activities. All for free!

We've collected some of the best resources on the web to help parents with great activities. All for free!

Can't find something your looking for? Send us a message and we'll be happy to answer any questions you have, whether a specific question or general inquiry, we're here to help.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT?

When we talk about Personal Development at this age, it might sound unnervingly like a chapter from a self-help book. Never fear though, in this context we are referring to all those little things that support a child's emotional and social well-being, both as they enter school and in the future. Gaining both the self-confidence to express oneself and the self-awareness to ask for help when they need it, as well as being able to see the world from another's point of view.


Self-confidence and self-awareness

Every child is different, and as such they should not be judged against others when it comes to their self-confidence and self-awareness. However, as children get older they should be...

... confident to try new activities, and say why they like some activities more than others. They [will be] confident to speak in a familiar group, will talk about their ideas, and will choose the resources they need for their chosen activities. They say when they do or don’t need help. [Early Learning Goal]

As they move up to Year 1 children become more willing to talk with other children, both those that they are familiar with, and new friends. They will also begin to enjoy receiving praise and may even be excited to take on small responsibilities around the home and in the classroom.

This confidence and awareness will be expressed by posing questions and expressing opinions whenever there is the chance children should be listened to and given the time to formulate and express ideas without being spoken-over or cut-short. 

Even superman found going into year 1 difficult.

Even superman found going into year 1 difficult.


Understanding feelings can be hard when you can't see them...

Understanding feelings can be hard when you can't see them...

Understanding feelings and behaviour

Understanding your feelings and emotions can be difficult at a young age. Even harder is controlling them when they could result in hurting someone else. Taking turns, adapting behaviours and inhibiting their own behaviours are all part of growing up at this age and children will begin to...

...talk about how they and others show feelings, talk about their own and others’ behaviour, and its consequences, and know that some behaviour is unacceptable. They work as part of a group or class, and understand and follow the rules. They adjust their behaviour to different situations, and take changes of routine in their stride.

The idea of actions having 'consequences' is a key idea that children begin to grapple with and by modelling behaviour, children at this age start to negotiate complex social problems which involve concepts of fairness and 'what is right'.


Making relationships

Whether your child prefers to play in a group, with their best friend or with an imaginary friend - at this stage of growing up it is important that children are initiating conversations and are enjoying coming up with ideas for play...

... co-operatively, taking turns with others. They take account of one another’s ideas about how to organise their activity. They show sensitivity to others’ needs and feelings, and form positive relationships with adults and other children.

Exploring the idea of friendship can be really fulfilling for a child as they learn some of the rules that glue groups together - and this can happen either by playing and exploring freely, or by providing more organised activities and learning opportunities. Getting to know people outside of their immediate comfort zone is an important and giving children the chance to operate in a number of different group sizes is extremely enriching at this age. 

Trampolines are a great way to break the ice (and a leg... so, play carefully!)

Trampolines are a great way to break the ice (and a leg... so, play carefully!)


Need to ask us a specific question about the Early years learning ? Or just want to talk to someone free of charge about your child's situation? Get in contact and we'll give you a call to work out how we can best support you.

If you want to organise a tutorial but want to know what the different options are, go to our Cost of Tuition Page.

WHAT DO WE MEAN BY PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT?

From sitting to crawling; walking to running; Physical development combines everything related to movement development. Also important in this section is health and self-care, and children will begin to understand healthy habits and good hygiene. Have a read below for the early learning goals related to this core are of Early Years development.

 

Moving and handling

Both gross motor skills (bigger movements with arms and legs) and fine motor skills (more dexterous skills such as using scissors or writing with a pencil) will develop during this time, and children before year 1 will begin to navigate obstacles and experiment with different types of movement. In other words...

... children show good control and co-ordination in large and small movements. They move confidently in a range of ways, safely negotiating space. They handle equipment and tools effectively, including pencils for writing. [Early Learning Goal]

This means pushing, prodding, twisting, balancing, turning, skipping, hopping, jumping and landing, stretching, speeding up, going slow and lots more! A lot of this development will occur naturally through free play, though some active learning can taken place in this area with songs, games and dances which involve copying moves. Have a look at resources page for some ideas.

Children will also begin to show a preference for a dominant hand at this age and start to manipulate materials when given the chance. As such, lots of fun with expressive arts (painting, drawing, mark making, lego, puzzles, mazes etc) really compliment development in moving and handling at this age.


Moving and handling.... Just cut and run.

Moving and handling.... Just cut and run.


Understanding feelings can be hard when you can't see them...

Understanding feelings can be hard when you can't see them...

Health and self-care

Becoming more independent in these early years can really boost a child's confidence. From simply telling an adult when they need something, to being able to manage their immediate needs for food, drink, or the toilet - the sense of 'doing it yourself' is a great thing to encourage at this age. Not only that but children might start to...

...know the importance for good health of physical exercise, and a healthy diet, and talk about ways to keep healthy and safe. They manage their own basic hygiene and personal needs successfully, including dressing and going to the toilet independently. [ Early Learning Goal]

As such, having an awareness of why these things are important for our health is just as important as following the healthy-living advice that their teachers and carers encourage. Knowing that there is a right time to go to bed (even if it is begrudgingly!) and that eating a variety of food, (even if it is done with a grimace), is a part of this development too.

Though it might seem like a fantasy, children really do want to dress themselves, eat healthy food and goes to bed at a reasonable hour!



Need to ask us a specific question about the Early years learning ? Or just want to talk to someone free of charge about your child's situation? Get in contact and we'll schedule a free telephone consultation.

If you want to organise a tutorial but want to know what the different options are, go to our Cost of Tuition Page.

WHAT IS EARLY YEARS LANGUAGE AND COMMUNICATION?

When we say Early Years language and communication we are talking about 3 main skills: listening, understanding and speaking. Have a look below at what each means at this level.

 

Listening

The first early learning goal described in the National Curriculum is that children will

...listen attentively in a range of situations. They listen to stories, accurately anticipating key events and respond to what they hear with relevant comments, questions or actions. [Early Learning Goal]

'Relevant comments, questions or actions' sounds pretty stuffy to us, but it does indicate learner engagement with a story. Children naturally pick up sounds we use in speech, and development of this faculty is helped hugely by as much exposure to story and song from as young an age as possible.

Over these years children will develop their ability to focus and will begin to join-in with repeated refrains in song, recall more information from stories, predict what might happen next, and follow directions to complete activities.

Phonemic awareness (learning the sounds of speech) should always be introduced before phonics (the sounds written out in print).  Thankfully this means singing, rhyming, story-telling, games and modelling language use, so lots of fun to be had! Have a look at the resources section of our website for some ideas on how to developing listening skills in Early years students.

Learning how to listen. As easy as eating a slice of watermelon.

Learning how to listen. As easy as eating a slice of watermelon.


'Do you understand?': not a very good question to ask

'Do you understand?': not a very good question to ask

Understanding

Often a child's understanding will be greater than their ability to communicate at this age, and giving children the time to express themselves while recognising their competence can help to create a positive environment for early years development. Eventually children will...

...follow instructions involving several ideas or actions. They answer ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about their experiences and in response to stories or events. [Early Learning Goal]

That may seem like a long way off for your child at the moment, but asking any type of question and allowing the time for your child to communicate an answer (regardless whether its right!) is a great way to start.

Looking for patterns in stories, predicting outcomes, looking at effects of actions and explaining consequences can all help to foster understanding at this age too. Furthermore, providing as many practical experiences as possible can give children concrete examples to refer to  -- so organising morning or afternoon trips to new places help children to develop understanding naturally.



Speaking

In terms of speaking, by the beginning of year 1 children might...

...express themselves effectively, showing awareness of listeners’ needs. They [might] use past, present and future forms accurately when talking about events that have happened or are to happen in the future. They [might] develop their own narratives and explanations by connecting ideas or events. [Early Learning Goal]

Providing opportunities for children to play is essential for Early learning, and giving as many opportunities for them to speak in different contexts and scenarios greatly enhances child development. As such, role play, free-play and interaction with different age groups (peers, older children and adults) is the extremely beneficial for children, allowing them to model language use and become better verbal communicators.

For more advice and the best resources on the web for developing Early Years speaking, have a look at our Early Years resources page.

'Hello? Yes, this is Baby. How can I help?'

'Hello? Yes, this is Baby. How can I help?'


Need to ask us a specific question about the Early years learning ? Or just want to talk to someone free of charge about your child's situation? Get in contact and we'll schedule a free telephone consultation.

If you want to organise a tutorial but want to know what the different options are, go to our Cost of Tuition Page.

WHAT IS EARLY YEARS LITERACY?

When we say Early Years Foundation Literacy, what we really mean is reading and writing.

To help make sense of this stage in a child's learning, we've condensed and reflected on the two relevant National Curriculum 'Early Learning Goals' below. 


Reading

Progress made in oral fluency at a young age will often correlate with higher abilities and better reading comprehension at a later age. Reading is the next early learning goal, and by year 1 children might...

...read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They [might] also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.

Reading simple sentences is all very well. But how? Children with emergent reading skills will begin to use a variety of cues to understand stories. Importantly, at this age children are developing their phonic knowledge (the print version of sounds eg. sh, ch, t, oo, ou...). However, reading is much more than just making noise. Children should use pictures, reading on and reading back and at this age will be building up their 'sight vocabulary'. All this leads to improved fluency, rhythm, and most importantly, understanding.

The best way to encourage a child's reading will vary depending on their age and their ability, but some options include modelled readingshared reading and guided reading along with the many different permutations of questioning and discussing that can happen during and after reading. It can seem like a mine-field, so do have a look at our resources section to get specific tips on exactly how to read with your child.

Is she really reading that book? Looks a little hard doesn't it...

Is she really reading that book? Looks a little hard doesn't it...


Understanding feelings can be hard when you can't see them...

Understanding feelings can be hard when you can't see them...

Writing

There are two stages of development which precede writing. Before a child picks up a pencil they should have the freedom to develop gross motor skills (moving arms, dancing, running, stretching, lifting and placing objects) and opportunities to develop fine motor skills (using scissors, popping bubble wrap, squeezing and twisting hand moves). Once children have developed strength in these areas they can start to have fun mark making using any media that they are able to use (maps, drawing, colouring, copying, dot-to-dot).

Eventually simple mark making will begin to be linked to the sounds of speech and children will develop a sense that marks can convey feelings and meaning. 

...using their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They also write some irregular common words. They write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others. Some words are spelt correctly and others are phonetically plausible.

The length of time that the matching of phonemes to phonics takes can really vary from child to child, but exposure to as many fun as accessible texts as possible and leaving pens and paper around the house can really help at this age. For more ideas on encouraging writing at this age have a look at our resources page.



Need to ask us a specific question about the Early years learning ? Or just want to talk to someone free of charge about your child's situation? Get in contact and we'll schedule a free telephone consultation.

If you want to organise a tutorial but want to know what the different options are, go to our Cost of Tuition Page.

WHAT IS EARLY YEARS NUMERACY?

Numbers, numbers everywhere, but can you count to 20?

Early years numeracy is commonly split into two areas: Numbers and Shape, Space and Measure. The early learning goals related to these focus on developing the child's use of mathematical language. Steer clear of addition, subtraction, times-tables and division at the moment -- the most important thing children can do at this age is to play with numbers and shapes. The goal at this stage is that children feel comfortable with numeracy related language so that they confident exploring all things 'mathematical' in later life.


counting-3116201_1920.jpg

Numbers

Getting to grips with the number system can be tricky for some, and exposure to numbers from a young age, and to numbers that hold special significance (such as birthdays, ages, house numbers etc) can demystify numbers, provide concrete examples of why numbers are so useful. By the beginning of year 1 children should...

...count reliably with numbers from 1 to 20, place them in order and say which number is one more or one less than a given number. Using quantities and objects, they add and subtract 2 single-digit numbers and count on or back to find the answer. They solve problems, including doubling, halving and sharing.

This said, the road to numerical mastery has its roots in object categorisation and language acquisition and before children are able to count using numerals, they will have sorted objects into groups and will have developed an understanding of number-language such as 'one' and 'more'. 

Eventually, children will play with quantities in real life, and will soon realise that you can count anything (dogs, cars, apples, you name it!), making links between numbers and our everyday lives. Go to our resources page for some great resources which help develop early years numeracy.


Shape, space and measure

Playing and exploring is the best way to develop a sense of shape and space in early learning, and children will naturally be introduced to concepts such as 'big' and 'small' along with the language associated with time such as 'dinner-time' and 'bedtime'. These are foundations of future understanding in this area of numeracy. By the end of year 1 children...

...use everyday language to talk about size, weight, capacity, position, distance, time and money to compare quantities and objects and to solve problems. They recognise, create and describe patterns. They explore characteristics of everyday objects and shapes and use mathematical language to describe them.

Playing with shapes at an early age can really help children develop in this area, and open conversations using prepositions of place (in, on, behind, on top of) will help them develop language of mathematical description. This precedes the more advanced ordering of items into size, height or weight order and using language to describe 2D and 3D shapes.

Again, the most beneficial way of encouraging development in this area is playing with shapes, bricks, lego or anything that involves bright colours, moving objects and that gives your child the chance to use and practice vocabulary related to shape, space and measure.


Need to ask us a specific question about the Early years learning ? Or just want to talk to someone free of charge about your child's situation? Get in contact and we'll schedule a free telephone consultation.

If you want to organise a tutorial but want to know what the different options are, go to our Cost of Tuition Page.

WHAT DOES 'UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD' MEAN AT EARLY YEARS STAGE?

Allowing children to explore their natural environment often leads to the discovery of wonderful things. This area of development is split into 3 main sections; People and Communities, Technology and The World.


People and Communities

Taking an interest in the people that live around us is fundamental to becoming a engaged member of society. Understanding people and communities may at first manifest itself as an interest in other family members, or the range of occupations they see in their community (teacher, baker, hairdresser etc).  Children at this age might...

... talk about past and present events in their own lives and in the lives of family members. They know that other children don’t always enjoy the same things, and are sensitive to this. They know about similarities and differences between themselves and others, and among families, communities and traditions. [Early Learning Goal]

Using photographs can be a great way of stimulating discussion about family members, family history and can help children relate their own experiences to others.  Taking trips to places within the local community can also help when introducing children to people and ideas that are not immediately familiar to them -- and they're great fun for parents and carers too. Certainly, giving children a range of cultural experiences is extremely enriching at this age and really helps clarify the idea that they, like other people, are unique, while also sharing a lot in common with others in their community.

fruits-3137112_1920.jpg

photographer-164673_1280.jpg

Technology

Technology changes quickly, and increasingly children come into daily, if not hourly, contact with phones, tablets, computers and a range of other devices which require them to think and manipulate. Encouraging children to have a positive relationship with technology can be difficult, as we all know of the addictive qualities of the screen, but developing an understanding of how different technologies can be useful is important at this age. In the Early years children might...

...recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes. [Early Learning Goal]

There may be a huge market for games and apps that support child development, but our advice is to be mindful of screen time and encourage children to engage with technology on a wider level than just playing games. For example, using technological toys that use mechanisms, or realising that computers store information that can be retrieved. 


The world

A huge amount can be learnt about the world by just playing and observing. Whether it be cooking in the kitchen, planting seeds or going for a walk in the leaves.  A lot of understanding can be gained by engaging children in day-to-day activities. Children at this age might...

...know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They [might] talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They [might] make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes. [Early Learning Goal]

Being able to identify similarities and differences might eventually develop into a discussions about why things are similar or different, or why things change over time. Above all, getting children to discuss the things they find in their environment is far and away the best method of encouraging engagement with surroundings; What is it? What is its name? Where did it come from? Have you seen anything else similar to this? Is it like anything else you know? You can find lots of other good questions for stimulating discussion with children at our resources page

human-765687_1920.jpg

Need to ask us a specific question about the Early years learning ? Or just want to talk to someone free of charge about your child's situation? Get in contact and we'll schedule a free telephone consultation.

If you want to organise a tutorial but want to know what the different options are, go to our Cost of Tuition Page.

WHAT IS EARLY YEARS EXPRESSIVE ARTS?

This includes anything and everything that allows children to express themselves; art; music; dance; play and much more. For ease, this is split into two key areas: being imaginative and exploring and using media and materials

 

Being imaginative

At this age being imaginative doesn't just mean 'coming up with good ideas for play'. Instead, it means a whole range of things; moving the body in or out-of-time in response to music; imitating and making up rhythms; expressing oneself with gesture and facial expressions that they have seen others use. At this age children might...

...use what they have learnt about media and materials in original ways, thinking about uses and purposes. They represent their own ideas, thoughts and feelings through design and technology, art, music, dance, role-play and stories.

Given the chance, some children at this age might begin to act out their own narratives during play, or create music or art in response to stories. A good way of encouraging young fertile imaginations is to have lots of props close to hand at all times.  Dress-up boxes, arts and crafts corners and musical instruments that are easy to make noise with are all useful items to have lying around the house.

Imaginations can also be fed with trips to places in real life, and a trip to the seaside/zoo/park can be a great starting point for movement games, painting, story creation or pretend play. There are lots of great ideas for creative activities in our resources section.


This could be your new wallpaper

This could be your new wallpaper


Not-so-imaginary friends

Not-so-imaginary friends

Exploring and using media and materials

Humming and singing along to tunes, imitating movement to dance and tapping out rhythms are all examples of how a child can find their way in the world using different media. What's more, making things using a variety of different materials and realising that different tools have different purposes help children of this age to make a variety of different products, exploring mixing colours and materials together. Children might...

...sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with ways of changing them. They safely use and explore a variety of materials, tools and techniques, experimenting with colour, design, texture, form and function. [Early Learning Goal]

A great amount of the development that occurs during this period is as a result of children being in a fun and enabling environment. Introducing children to new materials and new tools at this age is a great way to start set them off on hours of fun. Having a 'holding bay' is a good idea in this area -- a place where you can leave work for a while and come back to it to see whether you want to make any changes to it.



Need to ask us a specific question about the Early years learning ? Or just want to talk to someone free of charge about your child's situation? Get in contact and we'll schedule a free telephone consultation.

If you want to organise a tutorial but want to know what the different options are, go to our Cost of Tuition Page.

Hello! We are in the process of reorganising all of our resources into one big resource bank. In the meantime our Early years resources aren't available. Sorry!

They will be back shortly.

Many thanks! 

The LAT Team