Did you know that the Characteristics of Effective Learning are what help us inform our practice here at Aclet Close Nursery School? Everything from the planning, the activities we do and the environment we create, has been fine with these characteristics in mind.
The three main characteristics 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.
But why are they so important?
These characteristics are the skills we need for life. They are about how children learn.
When we see a child displaying the Characteristics of Effective Learning that means we are seeing learning.
Playing and exploring
Children develop a lot of skills through play. They show delight and can maintain concentration at the game or task at hand. They can focus and maintain attention.
The three stands of playing and exploring are:
Finding out and exploring
- Showing curiosity about objects, events and people
- Using senses to explore the world around them
- Engaging in open-ended activity
- Showing particular interests
Playing with what they know
- Pretending objects are things from their experience
- Representing their experiences in play
- Taking on a role in their play
- Acting out experiences with other people
Being willing to ‘have a go’
- Initiating activities
- Seeking challenge
- Showing a ‘can do’ attitude
- Taking a risk, engaging in new experiences, and learning by trial and error
If a child is engaged in what they are doing they are motivated to do more. This second characteristic is about moving and thinking forward.
The three stands of active learning are:
Being involved and concentrating
- Maintaining focus on their activity for a period of time
- Showing high levels of energy, fascination
- Not easily distracted
- Paying attention to details
Keeping on trying
- Persisting with activity when challenges occur
- Showing a belief that more effort or a different approach will pay off
- Bouncing back after difficulties
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do
- Showing satisfaction in meeting their own goals
- Being proud of how they accomplished something-not just the end result
- Enjoying meeting challenges for their own sake rather than external rewards or praise
The characteristics of being engaged and motivated develop into the vital skills of persistence and resilience. Understanding that it doesn’t matter if things go wrong the first time, because we can usually have another go or maybe using a different method or a tool. This can be a difficult enough skill for adults at times, but a vital one that we can model to children as we go about our day.
The third strand of this characteristic is about helping children enjoy what they have achieved and feel proud of what they have accomplished and accepting the challenge. Persistence is the reward.
Critical thinking could be helping the child to have their own ideas, finding ways to solve problems or finding new ways to do things.
The strands of critical thinking are:
- Making links and noticing patterns in their experience
- Making predictions
- Testing their ideas
- Developing ideas of grouping, sequences, cause and effect
Choosing ways to do things
- Planning, making decisions about how to approach a task, solve a problem and reach a goal
- Checking how well their activities are going
- Changing strategy as needed
- Reviewing how well the approach worked