In this assignment I will be writing about the importance of play for the development, learning, and well-being of children, I will show an understanding of an enabling environment while justifying the characteristics. I will also be explaining why it is important for children to develop independence, showing an understanding of the practitioners role in promoting the independence of children and I will be explaining how health is promoted in childcare settings and describing how it will support the children’s wellbeing.
Play can contribute to a child’s learning by increasing children’s self-awareness, self-esteem, and their self-respect. This is crucial for the children to learn because then they will be more comfortable while learning as they will have the self-esteem to try new things and they will be able to ask for help when needed. Play (especially role play) enables children to take on the role of someone else e.g. a fireman, this is important because the children can learn what firefighters do and how. In my setting the children went on a trip to the fire station where they were able to wear uniforms and go in the truck; this is beneficial for the children’s learning because they will be able to understand the role of a firefighter.
Play is important for a child’s development because play contributes to all aspects of a child’s development. All aspects of the child’s development depend on each other. For example, when a child is playing, they will be using more than one area of development such as personal, social and emotional and communication and language, However, most play is physical. Gross motor skills influence children’s development because they help develop balance, co-ordination, strength, and confidence. Fine motor skills influence children’s development by helping to develop spatial awareness, manipulative strength, and two-handed coordination. Play takes an important part in the child’s brain development as play provides children with new experiences which will expand the child’s mental growth. Play includes exercise which will help the child to strengthen their bones and their muscles. When playing with other children it is common for the children to get a sense of belonging as they are being included and feel secure. Play supports the child’s personal, social and emotional development by making sure that every child is provided with the opportunity to be involved and is provided with the necessary support. Once a child tries something new praise is always accepted because it will encourage the child to try and do more new things. Through play children can manage their feelings and understand the perspective of others by children beginning to understand if their actions are making other people sad or happy. Play helps the child to develop independence and self-esteem. Play can support the child’s communication and language development by the children talking to each other and being able to take on the role of other people such as parents. Play can help children understand the world if they are being provided with constant new experiences. Play can help children use their maths and English skills by counting how many flowers they can find and by writing an order for a dinner. The play is important for the child’s cognitive development as play gives the child an opportunity to use their 5 senses which are sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch. Play also develops the children’s concentration skills and their focus.
Play is important for the well-being of children because play allows children to use their imagination enabling the children to develop creative skills. It is important that every child feel included and no child is left out. When children play together it is common for the children to get a sense of belonging as they are being included and feeling secure.
To support this information, I have found that the Early Years Matters have stated that “Through play, children develop language skills, their emotions, and creativity, social and intellectual skills. For most children, their play is natural and spontaneous although some children may need extra help from adults.” Early Years Matters (2018)
I have also found that the EYFS Statutory Framework states that setting must be “Providing opportunities for young children to be active and interactive; and to develop their co-ordination, control, and movement” Department for Education (2017) Page 8. This means that children have the right to play within the setting to develop their co-ordination and movement- This can be done either indoors or outdoors.
What is an enabling environment?
An enabling environment is an environment which makes children and visitors feel welcomed. Enabling environments will be accessible for all children/visitors with any disabilities. An enabling environment should support the health and safety of children and should support the special needs of children by having specialised equipment for those who need it. Enabling environments should have plenty of space for the children to play in and be provided with high-quality resources. In my setting to welcome people into the setting, they have displayed some of the children’s work and they have a ‘get to know me’ board for people to see when they first walk in, this board has pictures of the staff on with their name and position underneath.
Show an understanding of a social environment?
During the child’s time throughout the day at the setting, they should be given the time to be social. This can include children playing together, circle time, 1-1 activities, anything that gives the child the opportunity to be social. “Social development covers how children come to understand themselves in relation to others, how they make friends, understand the rules of society and behave towards others” Thornton.L (2016) Children should be given the opportunity to play alone, play with peers, play with adults, and play with friends. Within a social environment, it is common for the children to have an ice cream truck, a bus, something that they would see normally, this is a valuable resource for a social environment as it enables the children to communicate to each other as some children will be serving and some children will be the customers. This gives children an understanding of the adult life. Another resource for the social environment could be group activities such as Jenga. This resource is for older children because the game has rules. However, this resource supports the social environment because the children need to communicate together as it is a group game; this will increase the children’s social skills.
Show an understanding of a cultural environment?
During the child’s time at nursery, all children should be provided with the opportunity to learn about the unfamiliar cultures of the world. Every setting should welcome children of all cultures and backgrounds. In my setting the staff members have a parent come in every month to do a cultured activity with the children; last month a Chinese parent came into the setting to make paper Chinese dragons with the children. Every setting should be respectful to celebrate and learn about every culture’s celebration such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Diwali etc. Within the setting there should be mixed raced toys of all abilities, settings should provide mixed raced and different gendered dolls to enable children to gain an understanding not to disrespect someone due to their race, gender, disability or cultural background. Mixed-raced children will benefit from seeing characters such as themselves in books and on posters as it will make the child feel a positive sense of belonging. It is important in the setting to have multi-cultural resources such as a variety of raced books and a variety of raced dolls to ensure that the children all feel included and accepted. Every child should develop a sense of belonging to the setting to be comfortable in trying new things and putting themselves out there.
Show an understanding of an outdoor environment?
During the child’s time at nursery, there should be opportunities for children to play outside. Within the outdoor area, there should be specific areas where children can have the time to be social, explore nature, be physical, and have a quiet/relaxed time. In the social area, there should be opportunities for the children to paint, to read books, and to relax with their peers on comfy cushions. Children should have the opportunity to explore nature outdoors by playing with sticks, grass, trees, and bark. In my setting, the children can paint with sticks to print different shapes onto paper to develop their creative fine motor skills. It is important that children use the opportunity to be physical, whether they are running around, using playground equipment or riding scooters/tricycles. Outdoor play is crucial for children’s development as being outside will constantly provide children with new experiences. It is important that within the outdoor environment there are resources such as obstacle courses to encourage the children to try new things and become confident. It is also important to have creative resources such as paints, pens, and stones (to print patterns with) to enable children to practice their fine motor skills and to extend their imagination.