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The characteristics of effective learning - playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically - underpin young children's learning and development and are central to the revised Early Years Foundation Stage. Practitioners need to be confident of planning, observing and assessing characteristics of effective learners and understand how they support children's learning and development. The book explores what the characteristics of effective learning look like and how practitioners can create opportunities for children to express them. It considers the ways in which they connect with children's natural explorations, play, enjoyement and the environments created by adults. Throughout the focus is on building on children's own interests as practitioners plan for, observe and assess playing and exploring, active learning and creativity and critical thinking. Including encounters from authentic settings and provocative questions for reflective practice, the book covers: * children's well-being and motivations * creating effective learning possibilities for all children * engaging children's interests * the role of the adult and environment * sustained shared thinking This timely new text aims to help practitioners and students develop their understanding of the charactersitics of effective learning and show them how they can support young children in become effective and motivated learners.