EYFS Teaching and Learning


Supporting best principles and practice

A short blurb on best principles and practice for EYFS

On this page you will find key documents in support of EYFS teaching principles, and details of approaches to EYFS learning including Froebel and Montessori, Reggio Emilia and the Leuven Institute.


Froebel and Montessori

A FROEBELIAN APPROACH to play requires:

  • Rich, first-hand experience.

Exciting experiences out and about, which extend children’s interests and open up new possibilities.

  • Time

Play takes time to get going. It does not thrive if it is squeezed into short time slots or constantly interrupted.

  • Open-ended resources

Simple but good quality resources can be transformed into many different scenarios.

  • Choice and control for children

to have ownership of their play.

  • Adults as sensitive co-players

who offer freedom with guidance to enrich the potential of play as a learning context.


The 5 Principles of the MONTESSORI METHOD are based on:

  • Respect for the Child

Respect is shown for children by not interrupting their concentration. Respect is also shown by giving pupils the freedom to make choices, to do things for themselves, and to learn for themselves.

  • The Absorbent Mind

Through their senses children constantly absorb information from their world. They then make sense of it because they are thinking beings.

  • Sensitive Periods

There are certain periods during which children are more ready to learn certain skills, and last only as long as is necessary for the child to acquire the skills. The order in which sensitive periods occur (i.e. a sensitive period for writing) as well as the timing of the period varies for each child.

  • The Prepared Environment

Children learn best in an environment that has been prepared to enable them to do things for themselves. Always child-centred, the learning environment should promote freedom  to explore materials of their choice.

  • Auto education

Children are capable of educating themselves. Teachers provide the environment, the inspiration, the guidance and the encouragement for children to educate themselves.

Reggio Emilia and Leuven

Reggio Emilia philosophy, in Italy, is underpinned by the following set of principles:

•The curriculum is totally based on the child and is implemented according to their interests.

• Children are given lots of control over the direction of their learning.

• Children are taught through the experiences of seeing, touching, moving, listening and hearing.

•Children are given opportunities to make strong relationships with other children and to work collaboratively.

•Children are given endless creative ways of expressing themselves.

•The learning environment acts as the third teacher

For more details about Reggio practice, see our further links.

Professor Ferre Laevers, Leuven Institute

Well Being / Involvement Scales

•According to Laevers children in a high state of well being are like “fish in water”. They are comfortable in their environment, confident and eager to experiment and explore.

•Similarly a child showing high levels of involvement, characterised by curiosity, fascination and a genuine interest in what they are doing, indicates that deep level, meaningful learning is taking place.

•Involvement and well being have a strong, connected relationship. It is hard to have high involvement levels if a child’s well being is low.

•Children with low levels of well being appear anxious and dependent. This makes it hard for them to become highly involved and thus to learn and progress in a sustained way and to reach their full potential.

•A happy, involved child is one who can experience the world at its fullest, a key aim in EYFS.

For more details about Involvement scales and Well-being, see below.

Well-Being and Involvement Signals

Please find below a document detailing Professor Ferre Laevers' 8 Characteristics of Well Being and examples of how these can be applied. This document also explores Leavers' Child Involvement Signals and a Child Involvement Scale.


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