Lesson 6 - Enabling Environments


Foundation Degree

Level 5

Play and Recreation:

Enabling environments

Lecturer: Laura Griffiths

Lesson Aim

The aim of today’s lesson is to explore our findings on the Foundation Phase and discuss the benefits of enabling environments

Lesson Objective

By the end of today’s session you should be able to….

Identify what enabling environments are and their benefit to children’s learning.

Enabling environments:

“The environment plays a key role in supporting and extending children’s development and learning”.

“Enabling environments encourage babies and young children to play because they feel relaxed, comfortable and ‘at home’ in them”.

(Early Years Matters, 2014 p.1)

The Indoors

“Rich indoor environments have an immediate effect on the quality of children’s learning and development”.

What is a rich environment?

“It’s comfortable, interesting, attractive and appropriate for the child or children who use it.

For some children it becomes like a second home where they eat and sometimes sleep”.

(Early Years Matters, 2014 p.1)

Successful indoor environments

Indoor space needs careful planning as it needs to be flexible to accommodate children’s changing interests and needs.

Current initiatives for Children

Learning: Forest Schools

In 1993 a group of childcare students visiting Denmark witnessed the benefits of Forest School.

Their lecturers considered how they could apply what they had seen to the childcare provision in their own

Early Years Centre.

Since then the idea has grown and Forest Schools are spreading throughout Britain.

(Forest School Initiative, 2010)

Watch the following video and take notes on how children’s learning benefits from taking part in a Forest School.

Current initiatives for Children’s

Learning: Forest Schools

“Forest School is an inspirational process that offers children, young people and adults, regular opportunities to achieve and develop confidence and self-esteem through hands on learning experiences in a local woodland environment”.

(Forestry Commission, 1996 p.3)

Current initiatives for Children’s

Learning: Forest Schools

Much research has been carried out to identify what are the benefits of attending Forest School are.

The research suggested that learners who struggle in the formal classroom learning environment, flourished in the outdoors.

During 2006, a 14-week Forest School programme was run by a Forestry Commission Wales Education to observe the actual benefits.

Current initiatives for Children’s

Learning: Forest Schools

This is what they discovered……..

Increased self-esteem and self-confidence

Improved social skills

The development of language and communication skills

Improved physical motor skills

Improved motivation and concentration

Increased knowledge and understanding of the environment

New perspectives for the teachers, leaders, learners and parents involved in Forest School

(Forestry Commission, 1996 p.6)

Extracts taken from FS reports

(Forestry Commission, 1996 p.5)


Look for other initiatives that support children’s learning.




What the initiative is.

How it benefits children’s learning.


Early Years Matters. (2014) Enabling environments: Effective

Practice. [Online] Accessed: 20 th September 2014. Available at: http://earlyyearsmatters.co.uk/index.php/eyfs/enablingenvironments/

Forestry Commission (1996) A Guide to Forest School in Wales.

[Online] Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/ForestSchoolEnglish2010final.pdf/$FILE/ForestSchoolEnglish2010-final.pdf

. (Accessed: 2 nd

March 2014).

Forest Education (2010) Forest Education Initiative. [Online]

Available at: http://www.foresteducation.org/woodland_learning/forest_schools

/background_to_fei_schools/ (Accessed: 2 nd March 2014).