Open-ended play

little girls playing with blocks

Learning through block play

Everyone knows that playing with blocks is essential to learning (and loads of fun, even for grown-ups). But what exactly do children learn as they line the blocks up, stack them, plan and build and bash them over? Harriet K. Cuffaro has some great insights into the value of block play. Read them.
children playing with a sensory treasure basket

Sensory play for children with SEN

“A treasure basket is an example of a sensory-rich and highly portable resource, making it a perfect ‘sensory snack’,” writes Sue Gascoyne. “ The sensory stimulation and hands-on approach is great for brain and memory development, gross and fine motor skills and strength.” Because there are no right or wrong ways of playing, sensory play of this sort can appeal to children with varying learning styles and abilities. Read on.

child touching polished stones and pebbles

The importance of sensory play

If there’s one thing in common about young children, it’s their ability to make a mess! Children learn best through direct experiences – exploring the world around them with their whole being. They stare, grab, smell, listen, rub, or lick unfamiliar objects, using all their senses to collect data that will be wired permanently into their memory.

 

If a child’s environment is too sterile or limited, they are deprived of this rich learning. What can parents and teachers do to offer diverse sensory experiences without becoming completely overwhelmed by the inevitable mess? Read this.

three boys playing in a stream

Using nature to help children academically

How can spending time outdoors help our children develop into enthusiastic academic learners? Ginny Yurich from Michigan, USA has some interesting insights and tips after spending thousands of hours outside with her five children. Read them here.

young girl on a swing

Qualities that nurture learning

"Surely the greatest reward gained in learning is the satisfaction and enjoyment it brings? I have never been an advocate of rewarding learning with chocolate!", writes Dr Andrew Lockett. "I have never liked the idea of sanctions or withdrawing toys. The ability to use humour, or to redirect children’s attention to new activities often diffuses a difficult situation." Read these interesting reflections from Dr Lockett, a retired teacher and OFSTED inspector.

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