Play, the enabling environment and learning
Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.
At North Islington Nursery School we ensure that children have the opportunity to play inside and outside (free flow) for extended periods of time which contributes to children’s well-being, development and learning. Because we aim to not always direct children’s play, children are free to explore and experiment, take risks, be challenged and are not confined to knowing the right answer. Adults carefully select resources to ensure that children can return to play that they enjoy most and what will support them to build on prior learning.
‘In an enabling environment, children choose to play, and are in charge of their play – what to do, what to use, what it is about, whether to play alone or with someone else, how long to play. They experience autonomy and can develop confidence in their own agency through their ability to make choices and take responsibility. Having freedom and time to play in an appropriately stimulating and resourced environment which is finely tuned for babies, toddlers and young children supports development and learning across all areas. Outdoor spaces particularly provide rich opportunities for sharing ideas and feelings with peers. Playing with others, such as an interested adult who participates without directing the play or with other children, is likely to foster and extend learning. Playing together often introduces new elements of play, as well as bringing the challenge of communicating ideas to each other.’ Birth to 5 Matters 2021
‘Play is essential for children’s development, building their confidence as they learn to explore, relate to others, set their own goals and solve problems. Children learn by leading their own play, and by taking part in play which is guided by adults.’ Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage, EYFS reforms early adopter version 2020