Play and Early Learning: Setting up an Environment Conducive

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Setting up an Environment Conducive for Play and Early Learning

  • Play also implies opportunities, materials and objects for children to engage, participate and express. Environments be attractive and accessible, which will compel children to engage and lead to play and learning.

  • Arrangement of play materials and other equipment directly or indirectly influences children’s activity and play behavior. Open and spacious places allow children free movement, whereas crowded and congested spaces create restrictions for children’s movements. It is important to organize play materials wisely such that children have easy access to see materials and be able to make choices. Such processes facilitate among children constructive and creative play.

  • How to design: Children must be kept busy with interesting activities such as playing games, listening to stories, drawing, painting, running, jumping, singing and exploring things in their own environment. Organizing such activities will help in promoting all round development in children.

  • Since the main purpose of play is the physical, mental, emotional, and social development children, placement of indoor and outdoor facilities should be appropriate to meet this purpose. Therefore, proper planning is needed for this.

The points that one should keep in mind are:

  • Ease of supervision and guidance

  • Attention to safety

  • Maximum provision of space for free movement

  • Cater to spheres of interest

  • Satisfy the needs of the group

  • Satisfy the needs of the child

  • Activities which are special should be arranged in a readily available place

  • Similar activities may be kept at one place

  • Shelves and furniture which are used for playing should be of appropriate size and height.

The physical setting of the play equipment can be organized mainly in two ways:

  • Inside the classrooms and

  • outside the classrooms.

This is known as indoor and outdoor arrangements.

Indoor Arrangements

There is a number of indoor equipment that could be kept in a playroom. All the materials should be arranged so that children can reach them on their own, and according to their use by both individual and groups of children. Enough space is also an essential factor of placing these. Some of them are mentioned here.

Indoor Arrangements

Indoor Arrangements

  • Dolls Corner/Dramatic Area: A corner where home related objects, a basket of old bags, sandals, scarves and other familiar objects will allow children to engage in role plays by themselves or in a group of five to six children. According to the nature of the task, a corner of the playroom will be the best location for it.

  • Blocks or Construction Area: Blocks are used as construction toys for building things. There should be blocks of different sizes and weights. If more than one child is playing with the blocks, there are chances of intentional interference of others which will cause destruction of the structure created. Block play is a valuable learning tool. An area should be set aside for block play as such play develops imagination, creativity and social skills.

  • Library, books and puzzle area: Books are important in the playroom. The room will have to be lit properly to facilitate reading. A low, height- appropriate chair and table may be suitable for supporting books. A variety of books for different ages will encourage the children and create more interest in reading.

  • Art Area: One part of the room must be devoted for keeping materials for drawing, painting and other art activities. The space for it may be allocated near the wash basin or lavatory so that the children can get water for drawing or painting and wash their hands without disturbing others.

A playroom (indoor) should be arranged in such a way that children can move freely, and materials should be easily accessible for all children irrespective of their age, gender and height.

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