Active play

counting

Supporting mathematical learning outdoors

Verbalising mathematical discoveries and observations during outdoor play helps children process each concept more deeply. As educators and parents we can support children in growing their mathematical language. “Knowing the right question or prompt to give at the right time in the right way to different children takes time, experience and practice to develop,” writes Lynda Keith. Lynda has some great insights and advice.

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two children playing with bark boats

Learning in the early years

Life is being squeezed “out of the two most precious attributes of childhood: an insatiable curiosity and an endless capacity to learn. Such a natural desire to explore, experiment and investigate is the same driving force that led the wayward Elephant’s Child in Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories to almost lose his trunk to a crocodile, so determined was he to find out what the crocodile ate for dinner… Innocent, yet seriously scientific research such as that is evident in the practical application of inquiry that is fundamental to early learning,” write Pam  Mundy and Sue Egersdorff, co-directors of International Early Years.

In a series of articles, Pam and Sue encourage all who care about children to help them first attain readiness for life, before concentrating on gaining readiness for school. Read the last article, which considers the highly debated issue of learning in the early years.
 

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boy and girl play with Outlast blocks by Storage unit

New Outlast point of play storage!

Effective, durable storage is a must for any outdoor area. The new Outlast storage unit crafted from rot resistant Accoya® wood provides a child-safe, convenient space for your Outlast blocks and crates. Additional resources, such as watering cans, sand toys, outdoor mark-making materials or natural loose parts fit too.

 

“The Outlast storage unit is perfect for us as it can be positioned permanently at the point of play,” notes Heather Forsdick, a kindergarten teacher at Herne Hill School. “ It allows the children to access resources while they're playing….. take things out and then put them back as well, which is fantastic.” See how children at Herne Hill School interact with their new Outlast storage unit and blocks in this 3 minute video.

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little boy holding flowers for teacher to smell

From the basics to beyond!

The phrase “back to basics” is often heard in our field. However, a more motivational approach for teachers would be “toward the basics and beyond!”

 

“The kinds of traditional play that children have done naturally for generations is still at the foundation of the work that we do with children,” writes Deborah Murphy. “We have the wisdom of the sages through the ages, but we also have the wisdom of the children right here, right now.”

 

“‘Teacher! Look!’ they say to us. It is good advice. Let’s watch and appreciate their deep engagement, singular focus, and creative innovation. We often discuss modelling behaviour for children. What about flipping that paradigm?” Read more.

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little girl doing role play under an Outlast table with flowie outdoors

Making sense of the world through role play

“The very existence of youth is due in part to the necessity for play; the animal does not play because it is young, it has a period of youth because it must play.” – Karl Groos, German biologist 1861-1946

 

Because children, like baby animals, learn best through play, it is in our best interest to create enabling environments which will ensure that their play naturally fulfils the EYFS learning and development requirements. Here's how role play can incorporate all seven areas of learning and development.

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