young child enjoying pretend play with mud

Encouraging mud play

Children plunge into messy play with great enthusiasm and no hesitation about getting dirty.The adults in their lives, however, may need a little more encouragement to understand the value of playing in and with mud.

Launching a mud area in your play space requires careful planning and communication with staff and families.This article offers advice on how to get over those hurdles.Then, let the fun begin! Read this.

young student playing at community playthings table

Building the best environment for children with SEN

All children deserve the best we can give them. Getting the learning environment right for children with special educational needs can be challenging, but we’re here to support you. Watch how this SEN school uses Community Playthings furniture and play equipment to welcome their students into a safe and calming place where learning happens naturally. View case study.

children in the woods on a nature walk

Helping children to explore nature's difficult questions

Children love to ask questions, and lots of them. They are naturally inquisitive about the world around them and delight in learning how it all works.

But how do we answer questions about topics such as death, or decay? How do we help children to understand our interconnectedness with the natural world, and about the grand cycle of life? Read these unique insights from Dr Claire Warden of Auchlone Nature Kindergarten in Scotland.

two children engrossed in outdoor role play

The importance of pretend play in natural settings

“Fantasy play is the glue that binds together all other pursuits, including the early teaching of reading and writing skills.” – Vivian Gussin Paley

Fantasy play, or pretend play, is an integral part of childhood. While too often limited by the narrow confines of a role play area, pretend play can flourish outdoors if children are given the space and materials.

Playground equipment like slides or swings encourage active play. What materials should you introduce to promote pretend play outdoors? Read the article.

two children checking a bird box for a nest

Building a curriculum on the natural curiosity of children

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

One of the greatest gifts teachers can give to their students is a life-long love of learning. Because children’s interests differ widely depending on their own experiences, meeting their learning needs demands the full and creative attention of a teacher’s mind and heart.

The Project Approach offers teachers a way to build their curriculum on the natural curiosity of children. When immersed in a topic that is local and relevant, students actively participate in the educational experience. This kind of authentic learning energises the child as they “become part of a community of investigators” instead of a passive recipient of information. Read more.

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