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Enhancing Your Environment To Facilitate Open-Ended Play

Every day I see and speak to early years professionals who would love to embrace a child-led approach to learning, both in their practice and their environment.  They are confident that this approach is the way forward for Early Years and are eager to start their journey. However, the common worry it seems, is where to start.


They also express concern that children will ‘not be doing enough’, or that even if they did take the leap to allow children autonomy to dictate their learning, they are unsure how to support and extend learning opportunities.


Throughout this module, I hope to break down some of these barriers, as well as a bit of myth busting! This journey does not have to be overwhelming, and although there are lots of faucets to explore, it is all underpinned by your WHY and a deep knowledge of early years outcomes and characteristics of effective learning, which as early years professionals this will already come as second nature.


As we progress though the module, we will look at some open-ended play theory and the benefits that this type of play has for young children. We will provide tools to help you reflect on your continuous provision and explore how we can incorporate more open-ended resources into your environment that will help you to promote more child-centred play – from collecting loose parts, culling toys to health and safety considerations. I will also be giving top tips of what has worked well for us at Roseville Nursery.


As you know, developing an effective approach goes much deeper than just changing your environment and introducing new resources, so we will also be exploring other fundamental aspects such as the adult’s role in supporting open-ended play, including effective planning, interactions and how to get your staff team and families on board.

Perhaps you are thinking about starting small and want to create a box of materials you can take out each day for children to explore. Or maybe you want to enrich your learning environment with open-ended play opportunities as part of your continuous provision. It doesn’t matter how big or small your budget or plans are, throughout this module you’ll find the tools, information and guidance to make it happen.

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