Creating a rich learning environment

A rich learning environment provides children equally with the opportunity to explore and learn. The environment must cater to the different ways that children learn.

  • Is there space for children to play and explore both inside and outside?
  • Are there activities for both active and quiet children?
  • Can children make choices?
  • Are resources well organised?
  • Are their opportunities to engage all senses?
  • Do children have uninterrupted time to play?
  • Does the environment reflect children’s interests?

Babies and toddlers

Babies develop in a nurturing environment where their needs are quickly met. They enjoy when you talk and read to them, even if you think they're too young to understand.

Communicating with babies and toddlers plays a significant role in their learning and development. Their environment is also key.

  • Allow children to make choices for themselves
  • Give them time to develop close attachments, particularly with their Key Person
  • Encourage repeated behaviour or play to build connections in their brain



Starting at an early years setting is a significant transition for children. Supporting children through early transitions can help them cope with change later in life. It is important to consider how to ease this process and help them settle in. This is important for children starting at their first early years setting, those moving between settings and those starting school.

It is important to discuss with children and their family how they can feel about an upcoming transition and if they need support.


Key person

When children start at their new setting providing continuity is essential. A transition can be easier when children form connections with their key person. The key person of a child is the crucial link between home and their setting.

Parents often have a different perspective on their child than the key person. This can help enrich a setting’s understanding of the child. Parents and caregivers can also learn a lot from the setting to support their child at home.


Support families with the home learning environment

The home learning environment is an influential part of a child’s development. High levels of parental engagement are consistently linked with better learning outcomes. It's important to work with parents to create a rich learning environment at home too.

  • Highlight how important parents are in their children’s learning and development
  • Encourage parents to read books and sing songs/rhymes
  • Provide easy suggestions related to what you have been doing in the setting
  • Have a variety of suggestions to appeal to different parents