Junior School Foundation Stage Play Policy


Through play our children explore and develop learning experiences, which help them make sense of the world. They practise and build up ideas, and learn how to control themselves and understand the need for rules. They have the opportunity to think creatively alongside other children as well as on their own. They communicate with others as they investigate and solve problems. They express fears or re-live anxious experiences in controlled and safe situations.

Aims and Objectives

Through play we aim to develop the whole child in terms of emotional, social, physical, intellectual and aesthetic areas of growth. We realise that the curriculum should be carefully structured to be effective and should include:

  • Opportunities for child initiated activities.
  • Provision for the children’s different starting points.
  • Relevant and appropriate content to match the different levels of children’s needs.
  • Planned and purposeful activities that provide opportunities for teaching and learning.
  • To achieve the above the learning environment is well planned and well organised.

Management and Organisation

Play is included in all areas of the curriculum through enhanced and continuous provision. Child initiated play is a vital part of all learning, encouraging creativity and valuing the contributions of the individual child. Often the play activities are linked to the topic being studied. The adults in each classroom support children’s learning through play as well as through more formal teaching activities.

Our indoor and outdoor play activities encourage children to:

  • Explore and experiment
  • Relate to their world
  • Acquire skills of problem solving and organisation
  • Develop language
  • Develop imagination
  • Acquire social skills
  • Deal with success and failure
  • Exercise choice, learn decision making
  • Become relaxed, secure and confident
  • Cope with pressures, worries and fears

Many activities including role play, painting, small world toys, construction kits etc are transferred from indoors to outdoors.

It is important that the adults involved in these activities actually play with the children to promote teaching and learning. This involves making decisions on how to intervene effectively to support and extend the children’s curriculum knowledge and skills. The adults are continuously observing individuals or groups of children, ensuring children play safely.

Learning takes place within the classrooms, the kitchen, the library, the corridor, and all outdoor areas.

Equal Opportunities

Children have access to resources that reflect their cultural heritage in role play and also reflect both genders. Access to the curriculum and learning environment is a duty of the whole school and reasonable adjustments will be made to facilitate this. Any concerns parents have should be discussed with the EYFS Coordinator and/or Head of Infant and Junior School.

Differentiation and Special Needs

The rooms and other areas are easily accessible to all with cloakroom and toilet facilities. There is provision for both right and left handed children to use all the equipment and an assortment of writing implements (eg left handed scissors and triangular pencils.) Children with English as an additional language are given appropriate support.

The children’s learning is differentiated through outcome support and task according to their stage of development and ability.

Assessment, recording and reporting

Observations of children at play are carried out and are most successful when the children are unaware that they are happening. Observations are used to identify successes, to track children’s progress and to plan for children’s next steps. The observations as well as other evidence (eg photos and examples of work) are used to build up a portfolio of the child throughout the year. These observations are entered into Tapestry (online learning journal) and are accessible to parents and children at all times for their contributions.

The children’s progress through the different areas of learning is tracked each term on SIMs and the final data is collected by the Local Authority. The parents are informed of their child’s progress at the two parents’ evenings and by written report at the end of the year.

Parental Involvement

We encourage a strong partnership with parents throughout the year, inviting them to be involved by adding relevant comments to Tapestry to broaden our knowledge of each child’s development. The importance of play at home and school is discussed.