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Provision to enable and challenge the youngest children to direct their own learning is carefully thought out at a centre visited by Nicole Weinstein.

Early years settings need to offer provision that will help sustain young children's thinking by using their own initiative, says Marion Dowling.

Help young children explore their love for - or fear of - the most popular family pets with activities in every area of the early years setting, suggested by Judith Stevens.

Go on the trail of creatures that hold a natural fascination for children with activities leading through all areas of your early years provision, suggested by Judith Stevens.

Should childcarers allow aggressive play, and where does the line have to be drawn? Elaine Lee considers the views of various professionals.

It's not just babies who gain from heuristic play - and better still if it takes place outdoors, as Sara Davies found in her research.

Can you build or make a boat with a sail that is big enough for two children?

Resources for productive role play, and the best practice for organising and offering them, are outlined by Jane Drake in our series on continuous provision in an early years setting.

Children's perennial fascination with knickers and monsters can be explored fruitfully using this quirky, beautifully illustrated book, says Judith Stevens.

When children are exposed to a wide range of thought-provoking experiences and encouraged to make their own decisions, they will take responsibility for their learning. Marion Dowling shows how.