I recognise that all children are different, and that there is no magic wand that you can wave to encourage your child to play in this way. My daughter is an only child, so to a certain extent, she has had to learn how to play by herself. She has also been at home with me full time since birth, so has had ample time to hone her play skills, without the interruption of childcare or school.
Nonetheless, there are certain lessons I’ve learned over the years and strategies that I’ve discovered through reading and research that have enabled and encouraged her to play in this way, and I would love to take the opportunity to share these with you. My aim is to write a four week course, with four overarching themes, and 24 guides to support you in what I consider to be The Fundamentals of Play.
In this course you will learn how to put in place the foundations for independent play through small changes to the prepared environment. You will discover what I consider to be the six most important play materials your child needs to thrive. You will discover how to create key play areas in your home or setting, whatever your space or budget. You will discover the important role that you can play in your child’s play journey. You will come away with inspiration and a sound understanding of how to support your child with The Fundamentals of Play.
This course has come about in response to my social media community who often comment on my daughters ability to play so creatively, independently and for sustained periods of time.
How to enable and encourage creative, independent and sustained play.
Who is this course for?
This course is for parents and childcare professionals who would like to curate a play and learning space that enables and encourages their children to play creatively, independently and for longer stretches of time. This course is open worldwide. All you need is an email address to access the course content.
In order to see a positive and lasting impact, this course will require you to make a commitment of time and thinking space, as well as the completion of some practical tasks. You will find that you make better progress, and get more value from your investment, if you are able to fully engage in the process.
Why should you take the course with me?
I am an Early Years consultant, specialising in play. I’ve worked with children in a play capacity for the past 20+ years, first as an Early Years teacher and now as a childminder and home educator. I speak from first hand experience of how impactful it can be to make small changes to the prepared environment to enable and encourage independent play.
Here are some of the testimonials I received about my other online course, The Simple Art of Toy Rotation.
"I absolutely loved this course! It has helped me to simplify our toys and living spaces. By setting up a toy rotation system, it has not only made my children's play more meaningful, it has also helped calm my anxiety about clutter! Anyone who wants to simplify their life and encourage their children to partake in deeper and more meaningful play should do this course!"
"What a fun, inspiring course! This was just what I needed to get our play space under control. We now have a functional system that inspires creativity and deeper engagement in play. I am so thankful that I was able to participate, I would highly recommend this to anyone wanting to make a positive change!"
"An enjoyable and informative course - highly recommend. I had already begun rotating toys. but this course has really helped me to focus on how to choose what to select and ensuring play space is as minimal as possible, while thinking of how to make this manageable and practical in day to day life. And it is working! My 3yo loves when she finds her toys newly rotated and I am sure that it is a massive factor in her ability to play independently for long chunks of time."
How will the course work?
At the moment, this is a self-paced course, with only two of the twenty-four guides ready for release.
Once the full course has been written, I will update with a full description of how the guided course will work.
This is a self-paced course.
At the moment, this is a self-paced course, with only two of the guides currently available to purchase. My aim is to have the course written within the next 12 months, at which point I will be able to offer it as a guided course.
Week 1The first week of the course will centre around the joy of less, for living in general, but also specifically in relation to children and toys. We will talk about the advantages of a toy rotation system. We will explore the difference between open ended/flexible and closed/non flexible toys, and how to choose quality toys that will support your child’s interests and development. We will talk about how to observe your child at play, identify your child’s learning style, and how to make decisions about the best play materials for their space. By the end of the first week you will feel motivated to get your toy rotation system in place, feeling confident that the changes you make are going to have a big impact in your home or setting.
Week 2During the second week we will focus on gathering, sorting and decluttering your child’s toys and learning materials. This will be a BIG practical week, so you may want to plan ahead and factor in some child free time when you are able to focus on this. I will talk you through the process, step-by-step, to help you make decisions about what remains in your toy library, and we will discuss the possible exit strategies for the toys and resources that are surplus to your requirements. By the end of the second week, you will have a better understanding of what toys and resources you have, and you will feel lighter for having made the decision to part with those that serve no purpose in your life moving forward.
Week 3During the third week we will explore the different options for toy rotation systems, enabling you to confidently choose which system works best for you and your family. We will talk about suitable storage, how to present materials in a way that will invite your child to play with them, and about how and when to rotate toys. As part of this third week I will give you a short tour of our main play and learning space, as well as a tour of how I store our toys, books and learning materials. I'll also help you with practical solutions for your storage issues. By the end of the third week you will have a toy rotation system in place that works for you. At this point we will break for two weeks, to enable you the time to implement your new system, and observe the impact it is having in your home.
Week 4During the final week we will explore how to set up your play and learning space to inspire and excite your little learners. I will answer some frequently asked questions, and offer practical solutions for troubleshooting areas. Finally, we’ll think about the shift in mindset needed to maintain a toy rotation system, exploring the true impact of our consumer choices.