Child-Led Environment

A child-led, free flow environment "offers a rich play and learning experience for children. It allows each child to progress at their own pace, it gives children practice in choosing, and in dealing with the consequences of choice, and it encourages a more flexible and open-ended use of the group’s resources."

A child-led activity is an approach to learning and play in which children take the lead in deciding what they will do and how they will do it. Rather than being directed by an adult, child-led activities are guided by the child’s interests, needs, and motivations.

In a child-led activity, the adult’s role is to facilitate the child’s exploration and discovery, providing resources, materials, and support as needed. The focus is on the process of learning and play, rather than on achieving a specific outcome or meeting a predetermined set of objectives.

Our child-led activities take many different forms, from free play to more structured activities that are initiated by the child.


Young Friends Kindergarten Kitchen Garden

Features of Child-Led, Free Flow Play

1)    Play is an active process without a product
2)    Play is intrinsically motivated
3)    Play exerts no pressure to conform to rules, goals, tasks or to take definite directions.
4)    It is about building possible, alternate worlds which involves being imaginative, creative, original and innovative.
5)    Play is about participants wallowing in ideas, feelings and relationships, and becoming aware of what we know (metacognition).
6)    It actively uses first hand experiences.
7)    It is sustained, and when in full flow, helps us to function in advance of what we can actually do in our real lives.
8)    In play we use technical prowess mastery and competence that we have previously developed. We are in control.
9)    Children or adults can initiate play but each must be sensitive to each others personal agenda.
10)    Play can be solitary.
11)    It can be with others each of who is sensitive to fellow players.
12)    Play integrates everything we learn, know, feel, relate to and understand



Young Friends Kindergarten FAQs


Nurturing a Free-Flow Environment

1)    Organise the play environment so that it is indirectly structured – pay careful attention to the organisation of materials so that they are accessible.
2)    Offer support for extension and responsive planning
3)    Ensure that adults offer language to support the children’s learning.