Realising the Ambition (RtA) p 47, says that “designing learning environments requires consideration of the interactions, experiences and spaces on offer. Physical spaces, both outside and indoors, should be constantly reviewed to incorporate a wide range of responsive, familiar, and exciting new play opportunities.” It goes on to state that in order to “support cognitive development the learning environment should be rich in opportunities for children to engage with concepts and foster skills for learning, such as reasoning, creativity and problem solving. The choice of experiences on offer should reflect an environment of open-ended possibilities in which children can feel intrinsically motivated to explore and investigate through play – including taking calculated risks and learning from mistakes.”

It is therefore important that practitioners “know the purpose and possibilities of the materials we provide outdoors and indoors. It is essential that we regularly evaluate how children are using the spaces within the environment and make changes and additions when required. Children should be involved in developing and caring for their environment.” RtA p 54

Other documents that can help in developing your physical environment are:

Inspiration from other settings

Click on any of the links below to find out how other settings have developed their learning environments to further support children’s play and learning.