Child led play is when children choose how they play, what they play with and the play can go in any direction that the child chooses. Before I launched Pop Up Play Village when I was an Early Years teacher, time for child led play was such an important part of the daily school day. It enabled the children to practise and use the skills that they had been learning at their own pace, in their own way and for a purpose. Child led play is such a powerful way to learn and grow as it puts children right in the driving seat encouraging children to learn independently as well as having support and guidance from others around them.
When Pop Up Play Village was designed back in 2016, it was designed to be completely child led. As soon as our little visitors arrive, they have the whole time to explore our role play village in any way that they choose. Our set up is purposefully open plan without any backdrops or barriers so that grown ups can see their children at all times no matter where they are in the room but also to enable children to explore the village as they wish. By being open plan, children can see all of the play areas available to explore and use their imaginations to make connections with one play area to another. For example, sometimes the construction site moves location because a new building site is taking place in a different part of the room, the bricks are transported to the new site and the building commences! Another example is when the supermarket food is taken over to the hospital to feed the poorly patients and help them to get better. By the end of a role play class, our play village can look very different to how it was set up to start with and it just shows that the children have completely owned their play time and explored our village in a way that benefits and supports their development.
Through child led play, children can develop a sense of who they are in a safe and secure environment where they can express their thoughts and feelings. This brings a high level of learning as the learning is purposeful and relevant for the child at that particular time. One of the biggest highlights of being the franchisor of Pop Up Play Village is knowing that we provide a special environment where children’s learning and development shines through whilst they play.
Written by Becky Hoare, Creator of Pop Up Play Village