Play and learning blog

two children telling stories together

Once upon a time…

“Stories are a powerful learning tool. Compelling research links the number of stories read to a child with their future success,” writes Kate Shelley.

“But there’s another side to stories that we don’t discuss as much: the amazing benefits of helping your children to become creative storytellers.” Find out more

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infant sitting in a browser box

Play through the eyes of the child

Crawl on the floor, hide behind a shelf, play peekaboo with a colleague or friend. Harken back to those days when you could sprawl, wriggle, stretch, build dens under tables, and giggle. Regain a child’s perspective, at least for a few moments.

“Early years practitioners would tend to agree with Froebel (1782-1852) that play is the child’s way of learning about and understanding the world around them,” write Karen McInnes and Nicola Birdsey. “Therefore, as practitioners, how can we fully understand the child’s world without seeing it through their eyes?” Read more.

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overflowing classroom shelves

Time to clean up

Shelves overflowed with piles of games, equipment and donated items, making the room look more like a neighbourhood boot sale than a classroom. In fact, there seemed to be more storage space than floor space.…

A cluttered play environment can make children restless and unfocused. When toys do not lead to deep engagement, children are easily distracted and tend to flit between occupations. Having more stuff certainly does not make children happier and often stifles imagination. Educational consultant Sandra Duncan refers to this as “mental clatter” which has a “negative impact on children’s growth and development – and especially their behaviours.”

Is there stuff in your classroom that just collected dust this year? Arm yourself with more than a feather duster for a real clean! This article is a bold invitation to De-clatter your Classroom.

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a nursery aged girl playing with outlast ramps and a waterwheel

Making the most of water play

“Water is one of the basic raw materials for purposeful play. Just like sand, clay and blocks, children can use water without being constrained by the one right way to use it,” writes Sandra Crosser, Ph.D.

“Water is intriguing. It seems to draw children to explore its structure and properties. Because water is naturally fascinating, the thoughtful teacher can structure the environment and materials in the water centre to make the most of water play.” Read more.

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nursery aged child playing with unit blocks and village vehicle

A solid foundation for STEM

For a five-year-old, the practical application of science, technology, engineering and maths is something they can only absorb through experience.

There is no better material to engage a child in STEM learning than unit blocks. In this new 3-minute video, Hal Melnick and other educators explain why every early years setting and school that is serious about STEM education needs to have a strong block play component in their curriculum. Watch now.

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