Thursday 28 October 2021

The Three IEYC Dimensions: Helping teachers scaffold children’s holistic learning and development

This is third and final article of a series explaining the rationale behind the structure of learning within the International Early Years Curriculum, (IEYC).

The first article encourages contemporary curriculum materials to elevate the process of ‘how’ rather than ‘what’. By focusing on how a curriculum is being experienced it avoids the “significant loss of focus on learning, step by step” (OFSTED, 2017) that arises from a focus on Outcomes/Goals or ‘what is learnt and taught’.

The second article highlights that the non-linear and varied nature of learning and development with the earliest years of life benefits when children are valued as partners. Children are more capable than we can know but they don't demonstrate the full depth and breadth of their capabilities. 

The third article as follows:

Finally, the three IEYC Dimensions of Learning and Development (Personal, International and Academic) are central to each child’s learning journey. Within each dimension, are developmentally appropriate and engaging Learning Experiences.

The IEYC Dimensions of Learning and Development are designed to complement each other; overlap and repetition within and across the Dimensions are intentional. 

In this way the three Dimensions work interdependently; children engaged in IEYC activities will demonstrate learning and development within and across all three Dimensions. This framework guides and promotes holistic approaches to learning and development, providing children with the breadth of experience that is required to improve learning.

The IEYC Dimensions of Learning and Development represent a shift in the structure. All three are fundamental to early childhood with each contributing significantly to cognitive development; promoting independent and shared thinking and learning.

This shift in the structure also provides an opportunity to create a common structure across the Dimensions. Shared language and common understanding across them aim to promote learning and teaching.

As the diagram below illustrates, each Dimension of Learning and Development has several Learning Strands that describe learning in more detail; each Learning Strand has sub-categories that further refine the learning in detail and has several identified Learning Experiences that describe learning and support progress. 

The IEYC Learning Experiences across all three Dimensions provides the context for teachers, leaders and parents to scaffold children’s play and learning. The International Curriculum encourages a distributed approach to curriculum control and leadership. IEYC schools are provided with a curriculum structure within which school leaders and teachers can encourage children’s learning and development and interpret, acknowledge and celebrate children’s progress.

Regular visitors to MyFieldwork (specifically the Pinboard) will already know about the improvements we have made to the Personal Dimension. However, the improvements we have made to the International Dimension will be new to you all and reflects the change in perspective. 

The introduction of global competence to the IEYC acknowledges what schools are already doing, as they support children to take collaborative action. Animal sanctuary food banks, charity collections, gardening activities, and a campaign for a new road crossing are examples of IEYC children currently making a difference in their schools and communities.

In the Underpinning Philosophy that was released in January, we acknowledged that the International Dimension did not go far enough in describing learning experiences that scaffold children to take meaningful action and become globally competent. We made a commitment to developing the IEYC International Dimension over time with the IEYC community.

We have now updated the International Dimension and are pleased that it provides Learning Experiences that support children to become internationally minded and globally competent.

We encourage you to explore the Dimensions document, the Dimensions themselves and the new structure in partnership with children as they play, learn and develop, and use the Dimensions to express children’s holistic learning and development. 

We have created a Pinboard post to share thoughts, and opinions and we are keen to answer any questions that may arise. Your thoughts, opinions, questions and examples of provision and practice are valued and appreciated.


Matthew Silvester
IEYC Coordinator