McMillan Nursery School

Characteristics of Effective Learning



The Characteristics of Effective Learning go alongside the 7 areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage Curriculum. 

These characteristics underpin all children's learning. 


Playing and exploring – engagement

Play and exploration in early years settings means children are able to choose activities (or create experiences) where they can engage with other children or adults or sometimes play alone, and during these activities and experiences they learn by firsthand experience.

Finding out and exploring
Playing with what they know
Being willing to ‘have a go’

Active learning – motivation

This is when children use open-ended, hands on experiences which arise from curiosity. These provide the basis on which the child builds concepts, tests ideas and finds out how things work.

Being involved and concentrating
Keeping trying
Enjoying achieving what they set out to do


Creating and thinking critically – thinking

This refers to how a child uses imaginative play to understand, explore and embed ideas. Children use imaginative play to re-create experiences.

Having their own ideas
Making links
Choosing ways to do things


At McMillan Nursery School, we are passionate about giving our children the opportunity to develop their independence and self-help skills. We encourage children to keep on trying, we allow children to make mistakes and we are proud of all children's achievements. 

Railway Street, Nelson, Lancashire,
Entrance on Brunswick Street, Nelson

01282 612709