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There is currently widespread interest in fostering 'independent learning' among young children. This study was designed to investigate the development of independent learning within the Foundation Stage. This age range was chosen because it is in these first years of education that the basic habits of mind and attitudes to oneself as a learner are formed. While there is a clear interest and commitment in fostering independent learning from governmental agencies, education policy makers and practitioners, there is no clearly agreed understanding of what this might consist and transforming these good intentions and aspirations into everyday classroom practice within Early Years settings & school classrooms has proved problematic.

The aims of the project were as follows:

  • To develop a model of the development of children's independent learning & design an audit/assessment tool for independent learning
  • To identify the kinds of experiences and interventions which seem to be most effective in encouraging children's independent learning abilities
  • To devise practical classroom activites, procedures and teaching strategies which have a demonstrable impact on children's development of independence
  • To promote and disseminate these findings to the Early Years practitioner community