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Finding out about the world around them is what babies and young children do very effectively when they investigate by touching, holding or pressing things and by climbing on and jumping off things.

So when we think of enabling environments that support and extend children’s learning, we are more often than not focusing on the indoor and outdoor environment of the nursery. However, it is just as important to use the environment outside our nurseries to give children the opportunity to learn from, and be part of, their local community.


In the Revised Early Years Foundation Stage, Understanding the World is broken down into three aspects:

  • People & Communities

  • The World, and

  • Technology

It is important for the children to build up a sense of community from a young age, to learn about where they fit in, and to begin to understand the value of having local services. It doesn’t have to be complicated or cost money, as even a walk to the end of the street can be different each time – for example, as the seasons change trees change, the weather changes and seasonal fruits and vegetables change in the shops.

Being able to walk down the street, say hi to people who we know and have people know where we come from is lovely. For the children, to have people acknowledge them instead of just ignoring them helps to develop a sense of pride in who they are, in their nursery and where they come from. Taking a ride on the local bus or tube, (especially overground sections) and talking about what you can see – the shops, churches, mosques, hospitals or other buildings around – can have very real meaning for the children.




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