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Understanding of the World (UW)

This curriculum area covers a lot of learning which will lead on to more traditionally recognised subject areas including: Science, Design and Technology, History, Geography and Citizenship. For young children in the "foundation stage" U.W is split into 6 strands - see below.

It is about learning to make sense of the world. Children need lots of opportunities to use different tools safely, to encounter creatures, people, plants and objects in their natural environments and real life situations, to "experiment" and to work with different materials.

Exploration and Investigation

How children learn about things like materials (sand, water, dough etc) and objects (magnets, kites, balls etc) finding out what they are like and what they do.
How they notice changes, patterns and similarities (bread>toast, wheels roll etc).
How they test and question to find out how and why things work

Designing and Making

How children learn about making things
How they use construction toys like blocks and Duplo to build and balance.
How they learn to use materials and tools like scissors, glue, tape, paper, wood, saws or nails to fix and make things.
How they learn to work safely and imaginatively.


How children learn about and use simple information technology (camera, TV, radio, CD's, recorders etc), computers and programmable toys (robots).
How children learn about cause and effect using electronic toys and buttons (torch, remote control, remote control toys etc).


How children remember past events and anticipate future events in their own lives and those of their families.
How they begin to use words to describe time and seasons (Monday, yesterday, tomorrow, summer etc).
How they begin to notice how things grow and change over time (babies, plants, food etc).


How children experience and learn about the natural world.
How they find out about their local area and think about what they like or dislike about it.
How they explore and learn about the world they live in by going on trips and holidays or looking at pictures or maps.


How children begin to be aware of how people have similarities and differences in a diverse society.
How they experience different cultures, faiths and celebrations.

How they learn abut what people do, their jobs and responsibilities.