- Welcoming, inspiring and engaging.
The space should feel nurturing and familiar at the same time as inviting children to explore and investigate by capturing their attention and provoking their interactions with the space.
- Includes elements of nature and natural materials.
The natural colours and textures of materials such as stones, seedpods, pinecones, tree blocks, and wool, make a nice change from the bright colours and flashing lights of many modern day toys. They also encourage children to play more creatively as seedpods become ‘food’ in their home corner play or pinecones a ‘family’ enjoying a day out.
- The majority of toys are ‘open ended,’ allowing for active exploration and many different types of play.
Before purchasing a toy consider if it is something which can be used flexibly, in many creative ways. These are they toys which will be worth the hard earned dollars you spend on them as they will offer an infinite number of new play scenarios, and not just now but for many years to come.
- Feels cosy and comfortable, with a sense of homeliness achieved through including sentimental family items and/or beautiful objects.
Plants, photos in frames, thoughtfully displayed artworks, cushions – all create a sense of homeliness. By including objects important to the family, you have an opportunity to help children learn to treasure and respect their belongings and those of others.
- Includes areas where children can play together or alone.
Children need time and space to play both alone and with others. By setting up an activity at a small table with just one chair (or alternatively two or more chairs), you are providing an indication of how that space should be used. Consider a balance of small, independent play and larger, collaborative play spaces when planning your space.
- One of the beneficial ways to design a positive learning environment is through interest areas.
These are commonly used to support a play based learning curriculum and provides a predetermined area in which to set up experiences based upon each individual interest area. The physical environment can be organised into the following: art and craft, block play, construction area, home corner, library area, music and movement, outdoor area, puzzle play, sand and water area, science and nature, sensory play, toy table. Interest areas will offer an environment for the children to explore and discover, an opportunity for the children to grow.