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BEST Nurseries

bedfordshire east schools trust nurseries limited

What is Heuristic Play?

The word ‘heuristic’ comes from the Greek ‘Eureka’ meaning discovery, and so the purpose of Heuristic Play is to find out and discover proceeding by trial and error. ‘Heuristic Play’ describes the activity of a baby or toddler when they play with an array of every day objects. As babies develop, they have a natural growing curiosity to explore items and see what can be done with them. Heuristic Play consists of providing children with a large number of varied objects and receptacles with which they are able to explore freely for as long as they desire. It is a natural stem on from Treasure Baskets and was developed by a team of child experts.

We explore the new addition to our Arlesey Nursery.

Heuristic Play is suitable for babies and toddlers that are crawling or walking.

The Heuristic Play sessions will be offered regularly at BEST Nursery Arlesey, and will be offered to children in all rooms: Twinkles (0-2yrs), Little Stars (2+yrs), and Comets (3+ yrs). We recommend that Heuristic Play sessions are held in a calm atmosphere where there will be limited interruptions so each room has their sessions when best suits their timetable, and each session will cater for a maximum of 10 children. The session will run for 45 minutes, allowing 10 minutes for tidying up.

Heuristic Play provides children with the opportunity to develop in all areas of learning. It helps to build their self esteem, develop their focus and concentration, develop their fine and gross motor skills, increase hand-eye coordination and encourages pretend play. It gives children the opportunity to problem solve independently in a safe and secure environment. Children benefit from handling ‘real’ objects made from metal or wood as it helps to refine their senses. Sensory stimulation is important as it makes connections in the brain which are essential for development in children and develops memory. Heuristic Play sessions are a time for children to interact together socially; they will explore items independently or in groups and imitate each other. Heuristic Play sessions help children develop their independence.

The Heuristic Play sessions will take place in a quiet, spacious area. Once the session is set up children are free to explore as they wish. Large quantities of each item are provided to prevent conflict but this may still occur on occasion. Adults are encouraged to let the children explore freely without interruption unless invited to become involved. If appropriate adults are recommended to respond positively, provide reassurance if needed and be aware of children’s cues. It is also the role of the adult to maintain the resources, check they are safe and clean to use, discard unsuitable items and also collect new items.