Learning through Play – Observation





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A young child peers through a telescope atop a wooden play structure, with text "LEARNING THROUGH PLAY - Observation 3 to 4 year old" displayed.

Observation, assessment and planning – are skills which can be honed and perfected with practice. Filmed sequences give you the luxury of being able to watch children at play over and over, encouraging careful thinking about what you’re watching. Filmed over a year, this observation study follows a 3-year-old boy busy playing in a variety of settings.

Within each sequence you will be able to observe how Seb’s playful activity involves many aspects of the characteristics of effective learning. You will have the opportunity to focus on the various aspects of learning that are taking place for Seb within each of his activities. You will also be able to observe and chart the noticeable changes and leaps in Seb’s development.

Increased understanding of how a child’s actions, behaviours and developmental needs change over time, ensures practitioners are able to fully support children’s play with a confidence in their own rationale and how this informs their planning.

Visit the Early Years Clip Library for a free trial of all of Siren Films training videos. Click here to find out more

  • Observe and analyse what and how children learn through play
  • Gain insight into how play supports specific areas of development
  • See what 'the characteristics of effective learning' actually look like during play
  • Be able to confidently observe, assess and plan play activities with key objectives and outcomes
  • Be able to link the theory of play based development and learning to your own practice

How can I use this video? +

  • Seminars and lectures
  • In house training
  • INSET days
  • Excellent resource for child development programmes
  • CPD



Introducing Seb and how to use the observation clips

The Toy Dog

Mum and Seb chat whilst playing with play dough

The Birthday Party

Seb and Tilly in the garden building friendship through pretend play and communication

Play Dough

Seb engages in symbolic play and communicates his ideas using language creatively


At a playgroup we see lot of social interaction whilst a group play together at the sand pit


Seb at home with mum engaged in symbolic play, using mathematical language and fine motor skills

In the Garden

Seb and Jamie use large found objects to build and construct

Firing the Rocket

Seb and Chelsea play outside imaginatively however the game ends in conflict

In the House

Seb and Chelsea play with emotional and social ideas through role play in their garden den

In the Park

Seb enjoys physical play at the park with his mum.

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DOWNLOAD INCLUDES: 10 x MP4 SD file –  Comprehensive user notes to support your training (PDF download via email)

PERMITTED USE: Supporting in house training, lectures, research/development work and for supporting presentations

NON PERMITTED USE: REPRODUCE, COPY or SHARE Siren Films material in any way – Use on a closed intranet system (academic licenses are available) – Upload, share, embed or distribute any Siren material on the Internet or in any other format – Hold a public, profit making screening (see website for full t&c’s)




With Siren’s instant online access you can rent this training film for 1 week, 3 months or a year. Our most affordable option makes this training accessible to watch on any device to train as many staff members from one setting* as you need. You will need a reasonably fast internet. You can test this by watching one of our trailers. If that works your good to go.

(*Terms and conditions apply – see website for full t&c’s)