The Early Years Foundation Stage sets standards for the learning, development and care of all children throughout the UK from birth to 5 years old. Both schools and Ofsted registered early years provider are required to follow the requirements set by the EYFS. The framework they put in place helps to not only support an integrated approach to early learning, but it also gives professionals a common ground from which they can deliver quality early years education, particularly when it comes to integrating play.
There are four themes that underpin all of EYFS guidance, one of which is named 'Enabling Environments' in which children can play. It is no secret that children learn and develop well in enabling environments and it is the belief of EYFS that these environments for play must meet two key criteria: valuing all people and value learning.
The best environment for play should include stimulating resources that are relevant and inclusive of all children's cultures and communities. They must include rich learning opportunities through play and playful teaching as well as support for children to task risks and explore through play.
Playing supports children's learning across all areas which is why providing enabling environments for them to engage in play is so important. According to the guidance laid out by EYFS, the characteristics of an effective learning environment should provide stimulating resources which are accessible and open ended. This allows children to use, move and combine them in a variety of exciting ways. Any resources you provide children with must also be relevant to their interests to ensure they will engage with them.
It is also important to arrange flexible indoor and outdoor areas and resources in which children can effectively explore, build, move and role play with other children. As children often struggle to drown out background noise, it is key to offer noise free and are calm spaces so that children have time to concentrate on their learning through play. Play time should primarily be uninterrupted to allow them the time and space to explore alone with their peers.
EYFS also outlines that it is not simply the environment that can support play and exploring but also positive relationships with both parents and teachers. Their guidelines above all encourage adults to play with children and encourage them to explore by demonstrating your own interest in discovering new things. Sensitively helping children when they need it to aid them in what they are doing without taking over or giving direction is key.
It is also important to encourage children to try new activities so that they can judge risks by being supportive verbally and through encouraging body language. Above all, communication is key when it comes to play which is why talking to children about they can improve through effort and practice and learning from situations when they go wrong can help them to learn through play.
At Playground Imagineering, we work with schools to ensure that the EYFS guidance is implemented through engaging and innovative playground equipment. We understand the need to take the classroom outdoors and believe that a collaborative design aprpoach works best which is why we have a wide range of off the shelf solutions or can design new products to suit your requirements.
If you are interested in finding out how we can transform your school playground, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team today on 01925 648959 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.