Promoting the Characteristics of Effective Learning PosterMany childminders spend a lot of time learning about the seven areas of learning and development and most of your learning journey observations will relate to them. However, I feel that really we have this the wrong way around. And that fostering the COEL in children is actually far more important than what that child knows or what that can child can do when he starts school.


For example, a child can either count up to ten blocks when he starts school, or he can’t. He can either write his name. Or he can’t. Those tasks can be taught to him by his teachers. However, he will find any task he has to learn easier if he is able to make himself concentrate or persevere at a task he finds challenging.


The COEL are not a series of goals to be achieved in the EYFS. They are lifelong skills. By helping children get the right attitudes and dispositions towards learning when they are in pre-school you’ll be setting them up on track to succeed in school and in life. It really doesn’t matter if a child starts school unable to write his name or do simple sums. It does matter if he already believes himself to be a failure, if he gives up easily when facing challenges and if he can’t motivate himself to learn.


As a childminder having an understanding of the terms of the COEL (active learning, playing and exploring, etc.) will help you to pass your Ofsted inspection. But don’t do lip service to the COEL. They are far more important than that. Help a child to develop the COEL and you can make a real difference to that child’s future.


For tools, activities, CPD and ideas to put the COEL into practice in your childminding setting check out my new Characteristics of Effective Learning Pack.


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