Creating an Irresistible Early Years Environment

How many of us spend days in the holidays reorganising our environment? How many tweaks do we constantly make to try and ensure that we keep up to date with current thinking? 

Setting up your early years environment can often be a daunting and time consuming process. Thinking how to design your space, organise the furniture, display and store the resources, as well as ensuring that your environment provides developmentally and contextually appropriate learning opportunities is no mean feat! 

Well the good news is that the Early Years statutory Framework states that it is up to you to decide how and what you will teach your children and this includes the way you set up and organise your environment. 

There is nothing statutory to say that you must have particular areas or resource them in a specific way. Nowhere does it state that your outdoor environment has to look like the inside! That is not to say that many of the messages put out there aren’t good practice but for your own peace of mind always check what is statutory and what is guidance or good practice! 

At Morris & Simmons we have some a very strong pedagogy about Early Years environments and some expert tips and advice based on our beliefs and values about teaching and learning. 

We believe that your early years environment is a crucial part of your provision and practice and can significantly support or hinder learning. It should be seen as that additional adult and if set up expertly it can facilitate high quality continuous provision, providing a clear purpose for learning, where children learn through exploration, investigation and challenge. 

Our Top 5 Tips

  1. VISION: Spend time thinking about your vision for your early years environment, as it will be time very well spent! If your provision was functioning at its absolute best what would it feel and look like for your children?
  2. ONE WHOLE ENVIRONMENT: Think about your indoor and outdoor environment as one whole area.  When you are deciding where to locate each area ask yourself would this fit better inside, outside or both? 
  3. POSSIBLE AREAS: When you are deciding on the areas in your environment consider adding some alternatives e.g. knowledge nook, yoga station, estimation station.
  4. CENTRE PIECE: It is much easier to create attractive spaces when you utilise the space in the middle of the room. Be careful that your furniture doesn’t sit around the edge of your room, think about creating interesting corners, dividers and attractive display surfaces.  
  5. LESS IS MORE: This is definitely one of our golden rules. If there are too many of a resource it can be very difficult for children to make independent decisions and choices about the resources that they need. It is like being faced with a Chinese menu with too many things to choose from which means we all revert to our comfort zone which is what our children do!

Looking for more ideas and inspiration?

Then take a look out our downloadable resource Continuous Provision: Creating an irresistible learning environment. 

This practical and visual book takes you through our unique MSE approach to setting up an Early Years environment. Presented in a colourful and easy to reference format this book will tell you everything you need to know about how to set up an irresistible environment that will inspire both adults and children.

Included in the resource is a comprehensive audit tool to help you review your resources.