An early years environment for this age range is very different from what is offered for 3 and 4 year olds.
We need to question ourselves... What do we want our open-ended learning environment to look like for our under 2's?
Do our children need the latest messy play activity to compete with social media?
Do we need to provide a calm, enabling, cosy, and homely provision for our littlest of people, filled with warm and welcoming practitioners, who have the time to meet their needs and be there for them and their families.
Within our baby room provision, we demonstrate the introduction of recycled materials, authentic resources and how we step away from purchasing items from ‘catalogues’ and one-purpose Early Years age and stage equipment.
We have set up cosy spaces with books, puppets, soft furnishings and fairy lights, for the children to explore within a safe and secure, calm environment.
We also allow children to use large scale items and smaller loose parts, once risk assessed, as it is through first-hand sensory and movement experiences that they learn to make sense of the world and develop key connections in their brain.
Treasury baskets and provocations are set up for children to explore holistic play. This allows them to use loose parts in many open-ended ways to explore and manipulate objects, helping children develop their creative and critical thinking skills, and experiment with new ideas.
With open-ended provision, it is important to ensure resources are accessible and flexible, without ‘learning objectives’ becoming the main focus of the day. Through open-ended play, children should not have to reach a specific outcome determined by the adult.
Open-ended provision should allow endless possibilities, where children can independently extend their learning further, in a safe, enabling environment, that continues children’s learning with or without an adult present.
If we truly look at our learning environment through the eyes of a child, it should be an effective and rich learning space, that completely embraces a child-centered and open-ended learning approach.
Early Years Quality Assurance Manager
Scallywags Nursery Chelmsford
The Pavilion, Beaulieu Park, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 6ED
Tel: 01245 468857