Knowledge and understanding of the world

Going to school is a big step for young children, both for those who have been at home and with family or with a childcare provider, who are learning to be part of a bigger community. In reception the children will look at what makes them special, including the similarities and differences of people living in the world around them, strengthening their self-confidence and relationship skills. Your teachers may use resources to explore this with your children, looking at all the experiences children have had.

Children will have the opportunity to learn about different cultures and the different celebrations families may take part in. Foods from around the world may be shared with your child when looking at other countries, providing an opportunity to learn using the senses. This can be a great way to engage children, and capture their interests as they get stuck into activities, for example learning that ice becomes water through melting them in the water tray, or using handfuls of mud to put in pots and plant seeds, watching them change and grow.

Classrooms will have a range of different equipment for children to start to develop early IT skills, and they will be encouraged to use technology to help them in everyday activities and to deepen their learning. For example, children may use a microscope, camera or microphone with the computer in their classroom to investigate an object or sound they discovered in the outdoor classroom. Some schools may have an online platform that they use to promote certain activities at home, such as maths or phonic awareness. To find out more, ask your school teachers what your school may use. The BBC website also have a range of fun games aimed at developing IT skills and linked to learning.

The children will be encouraged to make use of both indoor and outdoor environments, exploring nature, culture and science through the environment around them. This may include the school outdoor environments, forest school learning, trips out to local attractions or museums, and exploring the community around the school. Teachers will let you know when these trips further afield are planned, and will often look for parent helpers to come with the children and teachers on the day. You can find out more about learning outside within the Outdoor Learning factsheet.

Sharing experiences from home will also support this area of learning and development. Share some of the special moments and celebrations that your family partake in, or perhaps a family member could talk to teachers about bringing their knowledge or skills into the classroom? Is there a musician in the family who can demonstrate to the children using different instruments, could you share information and artefacts about a special celebration your family celebrates, or perhaps you work in a profession with a particular skill or interest to share such as baking or as a paramedic?