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Early years: Difficulties with learning: e.g. despite appropriate differentiation/individual strategies children make inadequate progress over time across the curriculum and are working below age related expectations

  • Assess through making observations in child-initiated learning and adult directed tasks to identify the areas of need.
  • Model use of open-ended simple pondering statements such as ‘I wonder…’ or ‘what if …’ rather than direct questions.
  • Give clear and simple instructions, breaking down longer instructions and giving one at a time.
  • Use visual timetables, visual cues and prompts e.g. objects, pictures, photos, symbols, choice boards, sequences to support instructions.
  • Develop personalised stories and books using children’s interests.
  • Give time to process information before a response is needed.
  • Use pre-teaching to support children. If there is a new interest that is planned to be expanded or a new book explored, it may be useful to share this with the child prior to others. It may be helpful to introduce specific language and vocabulary. For younger children before they access a group activity, consider providing this individually to support their understanding and engagement.
  • Make explicit links to prior learning by reminding children of past events, activities or experiences. Displaying photographs or sharing individual learning journals can support this.
  • Share next steps where appropriate – so children know what to expect. This can be very informally done through conversation, for example, “Well done, next time we can try….”
  • Use differentiated resources in a variety of ways to teach the curriculum which is appropriate to the developmental stage of the child. For example, a child who has difficulty with spatial awareness could be encouraged to join a physical activity negotiating around cones or use an obstacle course which is at a level that provides some challenge but it not beyond the child’s ability. When considering the resources needed to support a child, scrutinize the stage rather than the age of the child to ensure resources support needs
  • Use meaningful continuous strategies to boost self-esteem and confidence. Provide specific meaningful praise and feedback when a child persists and / or achieves something new or perseveres at a new task. Staff should praise children for the process of engagement and learning and “having a go” rather than the outcome.


Learning, Playing and Interacting

Finding and Exploring Young Children’s Fascinations: strengthening the quality of gifted and talented provision in the early years

Progress Matters: reviewing and enhancing young children’s development

Creating the Picture

Last updated 23 November 2020

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