Enquiry in the early years
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Enquiry in the Early Years. Children seek to find out knowledge about the world they live in and are inquisitive by nature. Stanton (2005) states that geographical enquiry gives children a method to promote greater understanding of making sense of the world around them.

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Enquiry in the Early Years

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Enquiry in the early years

Enquiry in the Early Years

Children seek to find out knowledge about the world they live in and are inquisitive by nature. Stanton (2005) states that geographical enquiry gives children a method to promote greater understanding of making sense of the world around them.

‘It also encourages the development of the positive attitudes and skills that are needed for them to be responsible citizens in a multi-ethnic society and in a world where the environment is under threat.’


Geography is

Geography is…

(Simco (1995) in (cooper et al) states that geography as a subject, is in a powerful place that can transform individuals, community and society.

‘Geography is about education for sustainability, the sustainability of the environment and the sustainability of communities and individuals within our world. ‘

  • Facilitates children’s understanding of a place.

  • Develops children’s understanding of their affective and cognitive

    engagement with place.

  • Ensures that children care about place, local and global and it is concerned about how places change and what impact human activity has on place. (Cooper et al, 2006, p.174-5)

Learning outdoors

Learning outdoors

In the Early years children have equal access to outside and inside learning areas. Children need the opportunity to be outside and learn about different environments that they find themselves in.

Every Child Matters (2003) improves the outcomes for all children.

  • Stay Safe

  • Be healthy

  • Enjoy and achieve

  • Make a positive contribution

  • Achieve economic well being.

    (DfES, 2003)

    Learning outside promotes a holistic approach, by implementing the 5 principles from Every Child Matters, practitioners are developing the whole child.

Changes to the curriculum

Changes to the Curriculum

Jim Rose’s (2009) final review of the Primary Curriculum states that the EYFS will be reviewed in 2010.

The six areas of learning for the primary curriculum will strengthen continuity with the EYFS from 2011.(dcsf.p.86)

This will allow stronger links between Early years Foundation stage and Key Stage 1 promoting smoother transitions for children’s learning of historical, geographical and social understanding.

Risk assessments

Risk Assessments

‘Risk assessments should give teachers confidence that they have taken the appropriate steps to minimize risk.’

(Edgington, 2005, p.96)

  • Tick lists for outdoor/indoor learning are carried out daily.

  • Children need to feel in control of what they do and learn,

    within the framework chosen by the adults.

  • Practitioners have a responsibility to be proactive in creating the conditions that make children feel that almost anything is possible and achievable within a safe environment.

A key component of the foundation stage curriculum



Problem solving


Critical thinking

Decision making


(QCDA, 14/09/09)

A key component of the Foundation Stage Curriculum

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority specify that Knowledge and Understanding of the World is an area that children learn through;

Theoretical perspectives on young children in a geographical world

Theoretical perspectives on young children in a geographical world

Palmer & Birch (2004) emphasise that before pursuing knowledge initiated by children, attention should focus on informing children about developing understanding and appreciation of the human and physical dimensions of the world that they are growing up in.

‘Early years geography is fundamentally about the development of the concepts of ‘space’ and ‘place’ (p, 7-8)

Thinking globally and acting locally

‘Thinking globally and acting locally’

To prepare children for life in the 21st century practitioners should begin with their immediate environment and locality.

It is critical to support young children early in developing positive attitudes by ‘thinking globally and acting locally’ , as the Friends of the Earth message encourages.’ (Miller et al, 2005, p.231)

By planning visits outside the setting, promotes children to learn more about directional understanding, distance and places.



Stanton, L. (2005) Enquiry in the Early years, Primary Geographer, Spring 2007, pp.22-24. Primary Geographer Handbook, Sheffield: Geographical Association

Simco, N. (1995), ‘Using activity analysis to investigate primary classroom environments’, British Education Research Journal, 21(1): 49-60. In Cooper, H., Rowley, C.& Asquith, S. (ed) (2006) Geography 3-11 a guide for teachers, London: David Fulton Publishers.

Dcfs, (2009) Independent Review of the Primary Curriculum, London

http://publications.dcsf.gov.uk/eorderingdownload/primary_curriculum_Report.pdf 12.11.09

DfES, (2003) Every Child Matters, London: http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/aims/ 13.03.09



QCDA. (2009, September, 14) Knowledge and Understanding of the World. Date accessed: November 10, 2009,


Edgington, M. (2005) The Foundation Teacher in Action. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.

Palmer,J, A. & Birch, J, C. (2004) Geography in the Early Years. (2nd Ed) London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Miller, L. Cable, C. & Devereux, J. Developing Early Years Practice. Abingdon: David Fulton Publishers.

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