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About the IEYC

Learning Principles

The IEYC is designed around eight learning principles, that we consider essential to children’s learning and development.

  1. The earliest years of life are important in their own right.
  2. Children should be supported to learn and develop at their own unique pace.
  3. Play is an essential aspect of all children’s learning and development.
  4. Learning happens when developmentally-appropriate, teacher-scaffolded and child initiated experiences harness children’s natural curiosity in an enabling environment.
  5. Independent and interdependent learning experiences create a context for personal development and are the foundation of international mindedness.
  6. Knowledge and skills development lead to an increasing sense of understanding when children are provided with opportunities to explore and express their ideas in multiple ways.
  7. Ongoing assessment, in the form of evaluation and reflection, is effective when it involves a learning-link with the home.
  8. Learning should be motivating, engaging and fun, opening up a world of wonder for children where personal interests can flourish.
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Learning Strands

The IEYC is built around four Learning Strands that underpin all learning and development:

Independence and interdependence
Healthy living and physical wellbeing

Units of Learning

There are 18 IEYC units of learning. Units currently include topics such as: To The Rescue!, This is Me, The Brilliant Bug Ball, Weather Wonders, Dinosaur Detectives, Ocean Treasure, Once Upon a Time and Animal Rescuers.

The units are based around exciting themes aimed to capture children’s natural curiosity.


We don't set targets for children with the IEYC, or score them at the end of learning outcomes, however we do provide schools with guidance to support assessment. We believe that it is more important to focus on IEYC Learning Principles so that children are supported in learning and developing at their own unique pace.

At this early stage of development, observation and interactions are the best way to make assessments, which should be continuous and should involve both the child and their parents.

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Learning journals provide an ideal format for capturing observations throughout a child’s learning journey. They also allow the learning and reflections to be opened up to the child and their parents. Any evaluation and reflection should be unique to the child, resulting in individually tailored next steps for their development.

It’s important for each early year provider to know how well their children are doing – as individuals, within particular groups (such as children with EAL and/or SEN), and as a whole cohort. To do this effectively, you need to be confident in your observations and reflections of your children. As a result, you will be able to support you're children as they make progress and can more easily adapt activities accordingly.

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When the IEYC was launched and we learned that it was designed with two phases of development in mind we saw the potential it offered for planning for mixed-age groups like ours.

Yvonne Crook,
Ecole Yenzi, Gabon