Young children encounter new experiences constantly and seek to understand them in order to extend their skills, develop their confidence and build upon their present knowledge and awareness. "The Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage" addresses the needs of children from the age of three years to the end of their time in the reception class of primary school. Children learn through: playing, alone and with others; talking to themselves, peers and adults; observing, using all their senses; planning what to say and do; questioning everything that puzzles them; experimenting with tools and materials; testing out new ideas and actions; repeating and practising thoughts and actions; reflecting on experiences; and, responding to new ideas and activities. Well-planned play is a key way children learn with enjoyment and challenge during the foundation years, and children of all ages need to play and learn from their thoughts and actions.Opportunities need to be provided for: child-initiated activities and adult-initiated activities; children's own intentions and adult aims; children's meanings and adult interpretations; potential learning outcomes and planned learning outcomes; individual needs and small/large group needs; familiarity and security and challenge and risk; and, spontaneity and flexibility and routine and structure.
Activities aimed at extending knowledge and understanding of the world provide opportunities to solve problems, make decisions, experiment, predict, plan and question in a range of varied contexts as well as to explore and find out about their environment and people and places that have significance in their lives. Aspects of planned experiences for creative development provide opportunities for all children to explore and share their thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of art, design and technology, music, movement, dance and imaginative and role-play activities.One section of this book contains ideas for designing resource areas to stimulate purposeful play. The lists for each of the areas will be useful for planning. The remainder (and bulk) of the book contains planned activities that can be used to ensure that the children have a wide variety of new science, design and technology experiences.