Stay and Play: The Role of Play

"Play is the highest form of research." - Albert Einstein

At BSJ, the curriculum we offer to our youngest year group (Foundation Stage One) is play-based, free-flow and child-centered; with the first of those, play, at the heart of all we do.

Playing is one of the main ways in which children learn. It helps to build a child's self worth by giving them a sense of their own abilities and, because it's fun, their natural absorption develops their ability to concentrate.

Providing children with a range of playthings will help them to learn a number of concepts and skills:

  • Sand and water play can give an early introduction to Science and Mathematics, as children learn that water is fluid rather than solid, for example, and can be measured in different-sized containers;
  • Drawing and painting pictures, dressing up, and playing with dough and dolls can encourage creativity, imagination and the expression of feelings;
  • Building blocks, jigsaws and shape sorters can help children recognise different shapes and sizes, put things in order and develop logic;
  • Playing ball games, dancing, running and climbing help to develop body movement, strength, flexibility and coordination skills;
  • Games help with turn taking, sharing and mixing with others; and
  • Singing and playing simple music instruments can help to develop rhythm, listening and hearing.

As stated on the website of Early Years specialists, Early Years Matters, "Play and learning can not be divided during the earliest years because as children are finding out about what things do when they touch them and what they can do when sitting, crawling, cruising, clambering, climbing, standing, reaching, pulling, pushing and so on they are also gaining mastery and control of their bodies – so play is learning."

Why not pass on this article to family and friends, and browse the photographs of recent Stay and Play sessions?

Now in its third year, Stay and Play is a free service provided by BSJ for children under three years old. The twice-weekly sessions provide an opportunity for children to experience our specialist Foundation Stage environment, and for parents to chat with each other and the teacher. It is held every Tuesday and Thursday during term time, from 1.00pm to 2.30pm.

There is no need to enrol in advance; just turn up at the start of one of the sessions. For more information, email