Little Red Hen

Centre for Early Childhood Care and Education
8 Lower Shantalla Road Galway


About Us
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This Weeks Menu

Junior Montessori
Senior Montessori
After School
Parents' Info
The Value of Play
Sand Play
Water Play
Heuristic Play
Small World Play
Free Play
Circle Time
Policies & Procedures
Behaviour Management

Free Play

During a Free Play session the child is provided with materials and decides for themselves how, where, with whom, when and what to play. Materials which are made available include:

  • Books
  • Jigsaws
  • Water Tray
  • Sand Tray
  • Paint, Paper, Crayons, Pencils
  • Stensils
  • Sissors, Glue, magazines for cutting
  • Home Corner - kitchen, shop, t-sets, groceries, dolls, prams etc.
  • Cars, train sets
  • Animal sets
  • Blocks made from various materials including wood, metal, cardboard and plastic (lego, stickle bricks)

Children in a free play session are made aware of where materials can be found.  All toys are stored on low easily-accessible shelves and children are free to play with whatever materials they choose.

 The role of the adults present is to:

  • Ensure that materials are provided which will engage the child in a meaningful way.
  • Provide progression in their learning by adding materials when appropriate.
  • Ask meaningful question without interfering in the child’s own learning process. 
  • Ensure that materials are age appropriate.
  • Supervise the play in a non-intrusive way.
  • Encourage the children by responding to questions and praising work

 The child’s learning is internally motivated and comes from the child’s own experimentation, creativity and discovery. The learning may not be immediate but is over a period of time. Learning in a Free Play environment is progressive takes place in a “building” manner. We find that gradually learning from one area begins to influence play in other areas and children expand their own learning.