CPD taster - Making an impact in EYFS: Using the outdoors to promote ‘Understanding of the World’

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This is a CPD taster created to give teachers a better understanding of what to expect when joining one of our primary science courses. Below you will find a video and a task for you to do in your own time. Once you have done the activity, book on to Making an impact in EYFS: Using the outdoors to promote 'Understanding of the World'(RP029).


How well does your outdoor environment promote children's 'Understanding of the World'? Are you making the most of outdoor opportunities in your Early Years Foundation Stage setting, to excite and engage children with their learning? Whether you have large established grounds, a minimal outdoor area or a currently underdeveloped space, this course will help you identify ways to use the great outdoors as an engaging environment for children to find out about and understand the world around them.

In this video, Helen Sizer, Professional development leader in primary science, explains more. There is then a short task that gives a sample of the types of activities you will be guided through on this CPD course.

Task: Wondering out loud

Imagine you are outside, and a child has collected some leaves which you are now looking at together.

2 brown and 1 green leaf on the ground

Image by malubeng from Pixabay

Consider the following prompts for a few minutes each, and make a note of your answers:

  • What might you "wonder" about together?
  • What learning might occur for both science and maths? Think about both conceptual understanding and skills development. Are there other areas covered too?
  • What key vocabulary might you focus on?

There are of course no right or wrong answers here. But you might have considered some, or all, of the following:

Show examples
  • “I wonder where the leaves have come from…”
  • “I wonder why they are lying on the floor…”
  • “I wonder why some are green and others are yellow…”
  • You might have considered discussing the parts of a tree, maybe lifecycles if the leaves are brown and shriveled. Perhaps you sorted them into groups of leaves which look the same, so developing early classification skills. 
  • You might have considered counting the leaves collected or just looked at one leaf and counted the number of lobes – an oak leaf for example.  Perhaps you noticed a pattern with the number of lobes on similar looking leaves. Maybe you sorted them into size order or made comparisons about the differences. 
  • You will likely have used subject specific vocabulary for both science and maths like ‘leaf, tree’ or ‘bigger than/smaller than’.  And you will definitely have encouraged children to communicate their ideas to you.

Wondering out loud with children in this way can reinforce connections between topics and start to develop early scientific skills. Consider where you could introduce such "wondering" with your children.

Next steps

In the summary video, Helen explains what you can expect from attending this course.

Book your place on Making an impact in EYFS: Using the outdoors to promote 'Understanding of the World' (RP029).

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Please be aware that resources have been published on the website in the form that they were originally supplied. This means that procedures reflect general practice and standards applicable at the time resources were produced and cannot be assumed to be acceptable today. Website users are fully responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is in accordance with current regulations related to health and safety and that an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out.

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