Good practice

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Use the questions and pointers for good practice listed below to help you assess the quality of your provision for stimulating children's creative development. How do you motivate children and stimulate their imagination?

Use the questions and pointers for good practice listed below to help you assess the quality of your provision for stimulating children's creative development.

How do you motivate children and stimulate their imagination?

* Plan an exciting environment.

* Provide interesting objects for children to handle and talk about.

* Build up anticipation and arouse curiosity through open-ended questioning.

* Model an enthusiastic and creative approach to all aspects of learning.

Do you recognise and build on children's experiences?

* Encourage parents and carers to share with you information about their children's home experiences and interests.

* Think about the different ways in which children are able to represent their home experiences in the setting.

* Plan rich, first-hand experiences for children within the setting and local environment.

* Recognise and value the discoveries and links that children make in their learning.

* Be aware of the balance between challenging children's imaginative thinking and providing resources and activities that are so alien to their previous experiences that they are unable to make connections.

How do you ensure that children are able to become deeply absorbed in learning experiences?

* Make sure that you plan experiences that are appropriate for the child's stage of development and that these take place in a meaningful context.

* Recognise children's need to explore through their senses.

* Help children to feel secure so that they feel safe to take risks and to take their creative ideas further.

* Ensure that resources are available so that children are able to develop ideas over time.

* Recognise when it is appropriate to intervene in children's play and when to stand back.

* Plan for both indoor and outdoor learning and allow children the freedom to make choices within the environment.

Do you value and support the play and learning process and are you open to individual and diverse outcomes?

* Value all imaginative contributions from children and celebrate uniqueness.

* Be prepared to change, postpone or abandon plans in order to follow and support children's interests.

* Document children's creative experiences at different stages (by using, for example, a digital camera). Raise the profile of experiences without concrete outcomes through a photographic display for parents.

How do you extend children's learning?

* Observe children's play and assess their learning. Use the curriculum guidance document to help you plan for children's next steps.

* Provide appropriate additional resources that will enable children to take their play forward.

* Ask challenging questions that prompt children to extend their thinking.

* Model the use of rich language and encourage children to explore new words.

* Use photographs of children's imaginative play to enable them to revisit experiences and to share their experiences with parents.

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