Explain how environments support play

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.4: Contribute to enabling play environments
Learning outcome: Understand the play environment
Assessment criteria: Explain how environments support play


Early Years environments should be designed to support play-based learning that will benefit a child’s holistic development.

This involves providing a range of stimulating activities, resources and materials that are appropriate to the age, interests and stage of development of each individual child.


Environments should also foster creativity by encouraging experimentation and exploration. The environment should be interesting, inviting and free from distractions, allowing the children to focus on their play.

It is important for practitioners to vary the activities available in order to provide something new for children to explore and develop their skills. Moreover, practitioners should ensure that there is adequate space for physical activity as well as quiet areas where children can reflect and relax after engaging in active play.


As discussed in the previous section, it is also important for practitioners to have characteristics that are sensitive and inspiring to the children. This supports a child’s social and emotional development and gives them the confidence to participate.

It is beneficial for Early Years settings to reflect the cultures of the children that attend. This can make them feel more comfortable.

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