Personal social and emotional development: PSED

Exploring and using media and
EYFS Framework Guide: Expressive Arts and
What is Expressive Arts and Design?
In the EYFS framework, Expressive Arts and Design
(EAD) is one of the four specific areas of learning.
Expressive Arts and Design involves supporting
children to explore and play with a wide variety of
media and materials, as well as providing
opportunities and encouragement for sharing their
thoughts, ideas and feelings through a variety of
activities in art, music, movement, dance, role-play
and design technology.
Two aspects of Expressive Arts and
Design in the EYFS
Exploring and
using media
and materials
Developing skills in exploring and using media
and materials
Expressive Arts and Design covers the area of learning and
Development which was called ‘Creative Development’ in the original
EYFS framework, along with ‘Designing and Making’ which was found
in ‘Knowledge and Understanding of the World’.
Exploring and using Media and Materials covers previous aspects of
‘Being Creative – responding to Experiences, Expressing and
Communicating Ideas’, ‘Exploring Media and Materials and Creating
Music and Dance’ - and ‘Designing and Making.’
Children’s learning and development in this area will be enhanced as
they sing songs, make music and dance, and experiment with different
ways of ding these activities. As they develop they will use and explore
a variety of materials, experimenting with colour, design, texture,
shape and form.
How can we support young children to explore
and use media and materials?
Attitudes and ethos
The physical environment
Links to the prime areas of learning
Supporting different ways of learning
Building partnerships with parents
Our attitudes and ethos
• Do all practitioners show interest in, and knowledge of, the creative
and expressive arts and design and what it means for babies,
toddlers and young children?
• Are all staff aware of the importance of allowing young children to
explore media and materials in their own way, without being
concerned about an end product?
• Do all practitioners understand the importance of young children
having opportunities to use their gross motor skills as a precursor to
developing the fine motor skills which are essential for later mark
• How well do all practitioners understand the process of design
technology and know what this means in the context of young
children’s learning and development?
• As a setting do we use any of our professional development time to
share and practise our skills and knowledge in the area of
expressive arts?
Physical environment
• Do all practitioners have the skills and confidence to create a
learning environment which enable children to develop their
skills, understanding and techniques in using paint, clay,
fabrics, musical instruments, tools and equipment?
• How regularly do we review the quality of the materials and
equipment which we provide for children to use to ensure
that they always have access to a wide range of high quality
equipment and resources to extend their learning and
• Are babies and toddlers given daily opportunities to explore
different media and materials?
• Could we improve the way in which the outdoor environment
has been planned to make the most of opportunities for
encouraging children to experiment with the visual and
performing arts and design technology?
• Do we use music to change the mood in our setting at
different times of the day?
Links to the prime areas of learning
Expressive Art and Design begins at a very early age, long before a
child is three.
‘Practitioners working with the youngest children should focus on the
prime areas, but also recognise that the foundations of all areas of
learning are laid from birth’- for example literacy in the very early
sharing of books.’
[Tickell Review of the EYFS, 2011]
• Are babies and toddlers given a profusion of multi-sensory
• Do we make provision for the children to engage in expressive arts
and design activities which help develop their manual dexterity?
• Are children encouraged to work collaboratively when they explore
media, materials and design?
• Could we improve the way we draw on the different cultures and
ethnicities of the families who attend our setting to enrich the
experiences we provide in expressive arts and design?
Supporting different ways of learning
• Do we provide challenging, but achievable, activities
suitable for children of all ages, such as covering the
floor with large sheets of paper for the children to
crawl on and mark make with crayons or paint?
• Do we value the ways in which individual children
express themselves in paintings and drawings without
trying to influence what they produce?
• Are all staff aware that is the learning process which is
important, not the product?
• Do we provide resources and experiences which will
engage the interests of boys as well as girls – for
example painting on a large scale out of doors?
Building partnerships with parents
• Could we improve the way in which we give
information to parents about the importance of
children developing their individuality and interests
through exploring and using different media and
• How well do we explain to parents that it is the
learning process not the product which matters?
• Can we help them to value the representations which
their children produce?
• Do we invite parents and other family members into
our setting to share their interests, talents and skills in
using media, materials and design technology?

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