How can we provide a proper environment for children to develop?
Here are a few examples:
- Provide optimal conditions for rich play: space, time, flexible resources, choice, control, warm and supportive relationships.
- Make materials easily accessible at child height, to ensure everybody can make choices.
- Provide experiences and activities that are challenging but achievable.
- Provide activities that require give and take or sharing for things to be fair.
- Plan first-hand experiences and challenges appropriate to the development of the children.
- Convey to each child that you appreciate them and their efforts.
- Ensure children have uninterrupted time to play and explore.
- Incorporate recognisable and predictable routines to help children to predict and make connections in their experiences.
- Use puppets and other props to encourage listening and responding when singing a familiar song or reading from a story book.
- When you use songs and nursery rhymes, help children understand the words by using actions as well.
- Help children to predict and order events coherently, by providing props and materials that encourage children to re-enact, using talk and action.
- Set up displays that remind children of what they have experienced, using objects, artefacts, photographs and books.
- Display pictures and photographs showing familiar events, objects and activities and talk about them with the children.
- Provide activities which help children to learn to distinguish differences in sounds, word patterns and rhythms.
- Encourage correct use of language by telling repetitive stories, and playing games which involve repetition of words or phrases.
- Follow young children’s lead and have fun together while developing vocabulary, e.g. saying ‘We’re jumping up’, ‘crouching down low’.
- Talk through and comment on some activities to highlight specific vocabulary or language structures, e.g. “You’ve got a blue ball. I’ve got a green ball. Hannah’s got a red ball”.
- Provide collections of interesting things for children to sort, order, count and label in their play.
- Provide different sizes and shapes of containers in water play, so that children can experiment with quantities and measures.
- Offer a range of puzzles with large pieces and knobs or handles to support success in fitting shapes into spaces.
- Provide a wide range of materials, resources and sensory experiences to enable children to explore colour, texture and space.
- Provide space and time for movement and dance both indoors and outdoors.
- Lead imaginative movement sessions based on children’s current interests such as space travel, zoo animals or shadows.
- Provide a place where work in progress can be kept safely.
© Adapted from: Development Matters in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). London: Early Education, 2012.