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Specific Area: Understanding the World

Understanding of the World

Understanding the world involves guiding children to make sense of their physical world and their community. The frequency and range of children’s personal experiences increases their knowledge and sense of the world around them – from visiting parks, libraries and museums to meeting important members of society such as police officers, nurses and firefighters. In addition, listening to a broad selection of stories, non-fiction, rhymes and poems will foster their understanding of our culturally, socially, technologically and ecologically diverse world. As well as building important knowledge, this extends their familiarity with words that support understanding across domains. Enriching and widening children’s vocabulary will support later reading comprehension.

This is a broad umbrella that covers key skills children will need to access foundation subjects in Key Stage one and can be a challenging area of learning and development to assess. It encompasses a wide range of topics and skills, such as investigation, problem-solving, memory, nature, science, history, geography, thinking skills, emotional intelligence and understanding of cultural diversity.

Learning experiences should be meaningful, fun, varied and progressive with opportunities for both free play and adult-directed activities. Practitioners should respond to children’s interests by following their lead in the self-initiated play and there should be plenty of opportunities for pupils to repeat activities.

Key Texts that support Understanding The World

  • Oliver’s Fruit Salad and Oliver’s Vegetables- Healthy eating
  • Funny Bones- The Body
  • The Farm that feeds us- where our food comes from
  • Non-fiction texts on lifecycles - ducklings, caterpillars, beans
  • Festivals of colour and light- Diwali, Eid, Christmas and Hannukka
  • Handa’s Surprise- Comparing and contrasting locations
  • Whatever Next- Space
  • Pirates- Floating and sinking
  • The Singing Mermaid- Waterproof materials
  • What the Ladybird Heard- Mapping
  • The 3 Little Pigs - Materials and their properties
  • Peepo- Life in the past
  • Jubilee and Coronation texts - What was life like in the past?

The children are also taught to make observations of the natural world throughout their time outdoors. Playing in sand, water, mud and a range of other media encourages children to do this through play.

Religious Education

We also have weekly RE sessions that are carefully planned and delivered using the Southwark Diocese of Education and cover themes including: Why was Jesus a special person? Why do Christians celebrate Christmas? Who created this wonderful world?