Early Childhood Philosophy

Freedom to choose. Why? How?

Hi everyone,

I am sorry I haven’t been able to write a blog post the last few weeks due to the stress of opening the school. We are three days into our first week of school and I must say that we are all grateful that it has been one smooth sail of a week.

Anyway, back to the blog post…

I can do it!

Child-led play for the under 5’s means that ‘the right to choose’ is very much anchored into many toddlers’ values. And over the last few years we’ve seen aspects of this child-led philosophy find their way into national debate on the core school curriculum. We’ve even seen the emergence of a ‘democratic’ pre-and primary school where child-led education is the rule of the day.
So, although that might not be everyone’s cup-of-tea, democracy and democratic values are and have to be present in all aspects of our work with children – through play.

Through play children learn to share, make their own choices and develop their independence

I can do it!

Toddlers like independence and choosing for themselves.  Some small changes in your toddler’s environment can facilitate this while providing practical, fun activities for the child.


Help the child identify where things belong by labelling. Place pictures or photos on the outside of drawers and cupboards within reach. This allows for choice making, showing preferences and builds self-esteem. It also builds early math skills as s/he sorts and matches items. By labelling toy boxes, for example, tidying up becomes a fun activity whereby the toddler feels in control, responsible and capable of completing tasks


Make a ‘treasure basket’ of everyday school items for the child. The basket should be large enough to store a variety of items, low enough for the sitting child to reach into and strong enough to lean on. Many household items are safe for the child to play and experiment with through banging, touching, tasting.  Change the basket contents to vary experiences. Stay with the child to create a sense of security as s/he explores and to ensure safe play.  The treasure basket offers rich, sensory experiences through sight, touch, taste, smell, sound and movement. While the child investigates and explores, s/he develops concentration and learns about cause and effect.  S/he can choose to use the objects in a variety of ways learning to problem-solve while developing hand-eye co-ordination. Always bear safety in mind while choosing objects and check regularly.


I hope you found this week’s blog post useful. If you wish to chat to us about our school, curriculum or even just join one of our play groups, please feel free to fill in the contact form below and we shall get back to you as soon as possible.


Claire x

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