Characteristics of Effective Learning, Meaningful Praise and Pondering Questions.

Characteristics of Effective Learning, Meaningful Praise and Pondering Questions.

A critical part of the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum is the Characteristics of Effective Learning. We promote these providing a variety of activities and experiences for all the children and the way we set up our environment. You can do this at home too by using meaningful praise. It is so easy to say “Good girl/good boy, well done, oh wow that’s good” etc.  The way we ask questions makes a big difference in how children react to them. Direct questions can make them feel under pressure and not think clearly and closed questions will not get them to think out side of the box. It is important that we develop skills that enable children to do things independently but the thought process and confidence needs to be nurtured, so they feel secure in trying and failing and trying again.

The Characteristics of effective learning are

Playing and Exploring- Engagement

Active learning- Motivation

Creating and Thinking Critically.- Thinking

When giving praise to your child try to make it meaningful so they develop an understanding of their capabilities and what they are doing that is helping them be successful.  Therefore, being able to apply their skills on a regular basis. Praise the effort not the outcome, this way either way if they have been successful or not the outcome for the child is always positive and they learn it is ok to fail too.

We use the following characters to help children understand their actions. (characters can be found on

Playing and Exploring “I wonder what will happen if…..” “Lets see what happens we…..” “Can you tell me how you…..” “You did….. and …. happened” “What else can you do to…..”

Exploring Elephant “You are playing really nicely right now” “You have tried so many ways to get that piece of the puzzle in”

I Know Rhino “You know how to hold your pencil really well” “Can you teach me how to use your toy? you know it so well!”

Go For It Gorilla “You gave that (say what they are doing) a really good try” “You tried…… and now you can…..”

Active Learning “You can’t do this yet”, “lets keep trying”, “Lets try a different way”, “Keep going” “We need to take risks sometimes to learn new things”

Concentrating Crocodile “I saw you concentrated hard on your writing/drawing/painting”

Persevering Parrot “You did not give up on building your tower, even when it kept falling down” “That was a challenge for you, but kept trying”

Innovation Iguana “I noticed you changed the way you built your tower when it kept it falling” “I like how you chose your own way to paint your picture”

Creating and Thinking Critically “How can we?” “Hmmm that is interesting let’s see what happens?”  

Creative Chameleon “I liked playing your version of hide and seek” “The way you chose to twinkle twinkle was different, I enjoyed listening to a different rhythm” “The way you used your imagination in that picture was lovely”

Slinky Linky Snake “ Thank you for washing your hands before lunch without being asked” “I see you put your toys away before starting a new game”

Choosing Chimp “the way you chose how to put your coat on works well for you”