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Play and learning – observation clip 1

Lucas is playing in the nursery garden, exploring the pots, pans and mud. His key person Gillian, supports him.

Good for looking at

  • The role of the key person
  • Supporting play and learning
  • Learning outdoors
  • Babies
  • Materials
  • Environment


Look out for evidence of the adult supporting Lucas’s play in any of the following ways:

  • Giving child time to follow their own interests
  • Using open ended questions
  • Extending the child’s thinking
  • Involvement with the child taking the lead
  • Tuning in to the child’s interests
  • Respectful interactions



What are your thoughts about:

  • What Lucas was communicating – think about his body language, gestures and verbal communication?
  • How is Lucas learning? Which areas of development, engagement and characteristics of learning can you observe?
  • The role of the key person in this interaction – how did she support Lucas? Think about the Notice questions

Further reflection

(you may want to watch more observation clips before moving on to further reflection)

  • Are there times when you feel unable to be tuned in to your key children? When might this happen and why?
  • What strategies would support you to be able to be more tuned in with your key children?

Do we value some forms of play and learning more than others? For example:

  • building a model with bricks
  • painting lots of pictures
  • dropping a toy or food from their high chair
  • watching water dripping down a window pain
  • mixing mud with a stick and getting messy
  • running around outside


  • How much time and space do the children in your setting have for thinking and continuing their ideas across the day? Do you need to make any changes for this?
  • How much time do have for making observations of your key children? Do you need to make any changes to allow more time for this?