Understanding the world is an important topic and a key part of the EYFS. Often children of a young age struggle with the concept of a planet that is round, with people living all around it in countries and continents, in a solar system etc. These are large topics that even our ancestors and scientists over thousands of years have struggled with! And now we want children under 5 years of age to understand the concepts!
The World is a vast topic that can head in so many directions - an endless range of opportunities for extended learning, following children's ideas, concepts, thoughts, interests - aiming to improve their understanding through fun and keeping the learning real.
Fortunately we can cover lots of Festivals of Light at this time of year where we can plan activities that explain other cultures and other countries from around the world.
We choose to set the scene. We start with the concept of the world i.e. the Earth. The Earth, that can be represented by a model globe, being a planet with a moon and a sun, in amongst many more planets, moons and suns. A globe that is round compared to a map of the world that is flat! Once the children grasp what a map is, compared to a globe, we start to discuss continents and countries, enabling us to show size between where we are now compared to the model globe (mathematics!) and different countries of the world.
Having set the context, this leads on to countries in the Far East where Festivals of Light are common at this time of year giving us lots of opportunities for exciting activities with colours, water, candles and making!