Both the construction area (or block area) and small world area are very popular areas of our Nursery. Both are separate areas within our Nursery but the children can fluidly take their play between both if they need.
Construction in our Nursery…
The early years foundation stage refers to construction in many of its 7 areas including physical, mathematics and expressive arts and design. A construction area allows children to play, explore, actively learn, create and critically think all things which are crucial to a child’s learning and achieving. Construction is something which is important at all stages of development so every early years setting should try and incorporate a construction area into their environment or provide resources for children to construct with.
Construction involves anything a child can build, balance and create from and does not have to have a set goal in mind. Open ended resources allow a wealth of construction to happen with children creating and changing there minds as they add or take away pieces to their masterpieces. With adult guidance but not interference personal, social and emotional development can be supported through showing you value their opinions and ideas, by encouraging the sharing of the resources and through praise and the sharing of their achievements. We often leave a space where children can display and be proud of their construction models or leave a camera out so the children can take photos of their creations.
Small World in our Nursery…
Small world play refers to imaginative play with ‘small’ toys, encouraging children to use their imaginations and create both everyday and fantasy worlds in familiar surroundings. It involves processes including active learning and imitation, and allows children to communicate knowledge about life and the world around them in a safe, contained environment. Whether it’s acting out a well-known home scene, or fighting a dragon in a fantasy world; small world play enables children to develop socially, physically and intellectually.
Small world play isn’t limited to groups, children can, and are often encouraged to play by themselves too. When children do play together, small world play encourages children to share, communicate with each other, and devise roles between themselves.
One of the most beneficial aspects of small world play is its ability to help children emotionally. On a basic level, collaborative small world play allows children to become aware of other’s emotions, but it can also help children get to grips with how they are feeling themselves. Any worries or concerns can often be bought up through the safety of the character a child has created; a policeman, a fairy or even an animal.
The ability to create stories using small world play resources allows children to express themselves, and helps us to gain an insight into how their child is thinking, feeling and developing.
Finally, small world play is a great learning resource. Not only can it teach kids about rules and life within their own community, it can also broaden their knowledge to distant places, cultures and societies. For example, road mats can help teach kids about road safety and small world vehicles, the rules of the road. Small world environments such as hospitals, police stations and fire stations can all help children define roles within their own communities and learn about concepts needed for adult life. Children can even develop their mathematical skills! Concepts such as size, patterns, positions and sorting are all explored in a fun and engaging way. In terms of language development, small world toys provide a physical representation that children can relate new words to. This imitation process is not just copying, it involves children learning and experimenting with what they are hearing and seeing.
Images to follow showing construction and small world….