Learning Through Play

At Abbey Mill Childcare our philosophy supports a play-based learning environment promoting play as a vital part of childhood and the right of every child!


Our play spaces allow children to have the opportunity to follow their own interests, whilst being encouraged to initiate activities and be self-directed through the support of playroom staff. They learn to take ownership of their work whilst being gently moulded into independent children with the confidence to take risks, knowing that there is no right or wrong way.


Child-initiated, play-based learning does not mean that the children just do what they like all day. There are also times when the children are welcomed together, being encouraged to listen to each other, share information and partake in (age appropraite)group activities.


Play is critical to brain development: Children gain all the skills they need – socially, physically, cognitively, emotionally, and creatively through play.


When Children Play, they are:


Building imagination
Developing language and reading skills
Strengthening physical skills
Enhancing self-esteem
Building mad science skills
Forming friendships and social skills
Gaining self-control
Solving problems
Learning how to think
Discovering their world
Getting ready for success in school, work, and life


When we allow children to lead their play, we can see the learning that is taking place and can then consider how we can extend the children’s ideas and interests to promote depth and challenge without taking the child off task. We always remember that it is about where they want the play to go and not where we think it should go! When we take a step back and observe children at play, paying attention to actions, decisions and expressions, interactions, reactions, and deliberations, we can see the ever-present learning. 

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