‘Play is my work’, is our page dedicated to reflecting the importance we place on play as a primary learning tool. It highlights the importance of play is to our child, and illustrates some of our daily play experiences. It’s the learning journey of a full-time, stay-at-home mum (and qualified Early Childhood Educator), and her husband, with our three-year old son. We’re also a proud Aussie in London family!
I’m never really keen to share too much about our home environment. Wherever we dare to share, I end up explaining how, and why, our space is set up in such a way. And it’s a reasonable question. But it transports me from my role as mum, back to an Early Years Educator/Teacher. Which is where my philosophy and underlying value of the prepared environment comes from. The prepared environment refers to the space and how it’s specifically designed to meet the needs of a child, reflecting their stage of development. Everything in his learning space is thoughtfully designed to facilitate independent learning and exploration.
While I do set up invitations to play, we’re child-led in our approach and follow his line of inquiries. So as a full time, stay at home parent, my first recommendation to anyone who suddenly finds themselves at home full time with children, is to consider the prepared environment and how it’s structured. Consider your child’s needs and interests and listen with intent to their voice. Our three-year old is, at the moment, hugely into water. So, lots of our invitations to play involve water play. At his current stage he’s interested in using different tools to transfer water. Recently, he’s enjoyed playing with pom-poms and water.
Our environment reflects our value for creative experiences and engaging in the arts. We offer open access to what we call the ‘creation station’, which includes paints. We believe in developing independence and autonomy which is why he has easy access to these areas. Lots of our resources were found at charity/op shops. We have plenty of baskets available in the place-space, to maintain easy access to resources. Mostly our resources consist of loose parts and open-ended resources with multiple opportunities for usage across different stages of development. We also try to make most of vertical space, being in a small London flat. One of our favourite vertical spaces is our ‘water wall’ which is calligraphy writing paper. The other benefit of the vertical wall is its benefits to child development. In particular, it creates opportunities to cross the midline. We try to use natural materials, including stones and sticks that we collect together during nature walks. We use household materials and resources, including: lids, wooden spoons, cutlery trays, teaspoons, recyclables, cardboard tubes, boxes, alfoil, cushions and couches for den building. One of our favourite resources is a shoebox with an attached string, which he pulls along to transport and transfer materials from one location to another.
Items that I suggest may be helpful to buy include: brown paper rolls, poms-poms, bands, display board pins, brushes (various sizes, including roller), various tools for mark making, tools for pouring, washi tape, road tape and train track tape (available from Tiger). Tiger is a great resource for art and craft resources.
While we play at home we will be sharing daily in our stories some of our invitations to play and you’re very welcome to join us.
I can give you many examples of activities to play. But if you can create a prepared environment, you’ll find significant benefits in supporting your child’s play and learning.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this as much as I did. So insightful! You catch follow Eloise – Play is my Work on instagram for more amazing ideas!