The enabling environment is one of four overarching principles of the early years foundation stage and is crucial to the development of secure and confident learners who are able to think critically and make links in their learning.
One of the key principles of early years provision, this can be difficult to achieve as it requires knowledge and understanding of how children learn best, an ability to reflect and evaluate current practice and a willingness to switch from an instruction based approach to learning to one of facilitation and enquiry.
“Children learn and develop well in enabling environments, in which their experiences respond to their individual needs and there is a strong partnership between practitioners and parents and/or carers.”
The statutory framework for the early years foundation stage – April 2017
Although mentioned in the Statutory Framework it is discussed in more detail in the document, Development Matters (2012). This provides detailed guidance, across all areas of learning and for all age bands but the enabling environment is most clearly explained when linked to the Characteristics of Effective Learning (pgs 6,7) where the use of open-ended resources, which are flexible and provide challenge, is encouraged in order to allow for problem-solving and the linking of ideas. Time to explore new objects and materials is crucial as is the development of creativity and a focus on the learning process rather than the outcome.
Here’s a great example
Ref: Teachers TV.