Characteristics of effective teaching and learning and 

the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum Framework (EYFS)

Here at Learning Tree Preschool, we understand that Children happily learn whilst naturally playing, 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

The Learning Tree 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 an assigned Key Person through play and activities to match their unique needs and interests promoting new skills and knowledge in 7 areas of learning and development.

Starting with the 3 prime areas 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; and

 Expressive arts and design.

More information regarding these areas can be found at the pre school or on

Key Person and Buddy System

The EYFS requires us to ensure each child in our provision is allocated a Key Person before they start and to remain with them where possible until they enter into school. At Learning Tree Preschool 

A Key Persons responsibilities include

building relationships with a child and parents, helping the child to become familiar with the provision, meeting the child's individual learning and care needs (e.g. dressing, toileting, etc.), responding sensitively to children's feelings, ideas and behaviour, acting as a point of contact with parents.

Key Person Buddy

Every Key Person has a supporting Buddy who can step in during absence and takes the shared responsibility to know and understand your child's unique needs. 

Starting Points

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 The Learning Tree Preschool our childcare team or 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. 

In the moment planning

 we understand that Children happily learn whilst naturally playing,

Learning Tree Preschool offers a carefully planned environment to promote activities and experiences that enables opportunity for this to take place in order to capture the moment of engagement for each child. 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’. Written ‘planning’ is then done retrospectively in the form of observations, records of the interactions and notes on outcomes.

Observation, assessment and recording

Observing and assessing children during play, forms an important part in identifying children’s progress, understanding their needs, to inform planning. 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.

We are currently using a paper process, but aiming to transfer to a digital method in order for you to be able to access and contribute more easily

2 Year old assessment

When a child is aged between two and three, the EYFS requires all children to receive a 'progress at two check'.   Parents/carers will receive a short written summary of their child’s development in the prime areas. The  progress check identifies your child’s strengths and any areas where progress is less than expected. If there are significant emerging concerns, or an identified special educational need or disability, we are required in partnership with yourselves and other professionals where appropriate, to develop a targeted plan to support your child’s future learning and development to provide them with the best possible start for school.

Behaviour's and Schemas

To further understand and support children's play behaviour some of our childcare team have attended  'Schema' Training

A schema is a repeatable pattern of behaviour in learning that may be observed though young children’s play.Through having knowledge and understanding of schema's, practitioners can understand their key children’s learning and plan next steps in development around their key child individual interests.

Common Schema's you may identify:

Trajectories - Climbing, fascination with beginning and end lines, play with running water, pouring, kicking, vertical, horizontal throwing, jumping.

Connecting - play with jigsaws, join things together e.g. cars, trains spend time connecting train tracks.

On top - climbing and being on top of objects.

Rotational - spinning around, running or walking in circles playing with toys with wheels, rolling balls.

Positioning - lining up toys, how they place food on their plate or just sitting under a table.

Transporting - moving objects from one place to another, carrying objects in a bag or container, or pushing objects about in a container.

Enveloping and containing - wrapping toys, layering paper, building dens, wrapping dolls in blankets, hiding in tents.

Transformation - buckets, wheel barrows, bags, trucks, prams.

Enclosing - building fences around small world animals, sitting in boxes, building dens.

School Readiness

Starting school is a big step in a child's life and can often attract a wave of exciting and/or stressful emotions and behaviour

School Readiness is not about starting a formal approach to learning as early as possible

Children learn and develop mainly through play and a wide range of play opportunities vital to allow them to explore the world around them and make connections to their play. The positive experiences young children receive contributes towards them being 'ready for school'.

Here at The Learning Tree Preschool we promote children to become independent by providing opportunities for them to feed and dress themselves, using the toilet and knowing and understanding their own needs in preparation for when theses skills will be invaluable.

SEND and the role of the SEN co.

This information can be found in Partnership working