↑ Return to Curriculum

Understanding the World

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community through opportunities to explore, observe and find out about people, places, technology and the environment.

By the end of reception children will develop their understanding of:

  • People and communities: children 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.
  • The world: children know about similarities and differences in relation to places, objects, materials and living things. They talk about the features of their own immediate environment and how environments might vary from one another. They make observations of animals and plants and explain why some things occur, and talk about changes.
  • Technology: children recognise that a range of technology is used in places such as homes and schools. They select and use technology for particular purposes.

How can parents and carers help?

  • Get out and about in all weathers! Talk about what is happening in the world all around you. Notice traffic, street signs, changes in the seasons.
  • Compare old and new things with your child. Give them an awareness that ‘in the olden times’ people did not have washing machines, vacuum cleaners, televisions!
  • Give your child a sense of your family and relations.
  • Explain that life is very different for people in different parts of the world.  The weather is different, lifestyles are different, homes are different, not everyone has a meal to eat at the end of a day.
  • Develop in your child a respect for different cultures and religions. Explain that our world is a wonderful place to live because everyone has the right to follow their own beliefs and way of life.
  • Develop problem solving skills in your child. It is often quicker and easier to do things for them but your child will not grow into an independent person if they don’t learn to solve problems, try things out for themselves, make mistakes and learn to persevere.
  • If you have a computer, laptop, iPad allow your child to play appropriate games, but also allow them to operate simple equipment (hand mixers, electric toothbrushes, CD players) under your watchful eye.