Characteristics of effective learning

During the Early Years children are encouraged to develop the characteristics of effective learning. Here are some key questions parents and professionals ask to help assess and support children.


Playing with what they know

  • Can I use my experiences to shape how I play?
  • Can I use key language and use modelled “roles” to play?

Finding out and exploring

  • Can I think aloud and describe what I am doing?
  • Do I ask questions?
  • Do I initiate play/learning?
  • Do I remain curious and want to deepen my understanding and knowledge?

Being willing to “have a go”

  • Do I show persistence?
  • Do I try something new, even if it’s hard?
  • Can I select resources to help me have a go?


Choosing ways to do things

  • Can I apply my skills in different contexts?
  • Can I use trial and error to adapt my ideas?
  • Do I have the confidence to make choices and select resources?
  • Do I choose to involve others in a way that will help me?

Making Links

  • Do I use/build upon my prior knowledge/learning to learn new things?
  • Can I say what is the same and what is different?
  • Can I spot patterns and make predictions?

Having their own ideas

  • Can I talk about and share my ideas?
  • Do I have the confidence to stick with my idea?
  • Do I shape my own learning?
  • Do I look to solve problems?


Enjoying achieving what they set out to do

  • Do I recognise achievements and welcome praise?
  • Am I clear about what I am trying to do and achieve?
  • Do I want to revisit learning again and do I want to improve?
  • Can I say well done to others?
  • Do I accept a challenge?

Being involved and concentrating

  • Am I actively involved in my learning?
  • Can I manage distractions?
  • Do I add my ideas in discussions?
  • Can I remain focussed for an extended period of time?

Keeping Trying

  • Do I see learning through?
  • Do I keep going, even when a problem arises/when it’s hard?
  • Do I ask for help so I can achieve?