Playing & Learning

For babies and very young children routines are a very important part of the day. They are a great source of learning which is equally as important as their exploration and investigation of play equipment and planned learning opportunities.


Personal physical care routines which are necessary for young children who cannot yet take care of themselves, such as changing, cleaning, dressing, and feeding provide comfort and reassurance for young children and are a valuable learning opportunity. Daily routines such as arrival and leaving times, meals and snacks, rest or sleep times support young children’s understanding of what happens next, and reassures them and builds on their confidence.

Each day will have its own unique flow. There will be periods of high energetic activity, such as a trip to the park or music and movement, followed by periods of more sedate learning; creative work, one to one time, problem solving or story-time. The day is planned to ensure that the children are engaged and engrossed in learning and play that will inspire them, and ensure they are progressing towards their developmental milestones as set out in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

When planning the day, play & learning experiences, the EYFS states that ‘practitioners must reflect on the different ways children learn, and then reflect these in their practice. It outlines three characteristics of effective teaching and learning’:

  • Playing and exploring: children investigate and experience things, and ‘have a go’

  • Active learning: children concentrate and keep on trying if they encounter difficulties, and enjoy achievements

  • Creating and thinking critically: children have and develop their own ideas, make links between ideas, and develop strategies for doing things


For example, one of the children may come in interested in football because they went to watch Reading play over the weekend, we may then get some balls out and have a football game in the garden, compare different types/sizes of balls and/or sport games that use balls, and then go on to read some story books about football. Or another child may show an interest in roundabouts due to the roundabouts they pass on their way to our setting,  we may then incorporate transport into our day by building some tracks in the playroom, going on a car trip and basing our learning for the day or week on the child’s interests. We may then look at different shapes, circles, ovals, rectangles etc... Most importantly, through working together with you, the parent (and primary educator) we will build upon your child’s interests to ensure your child’s learning and developmental needs are met.