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The importance of leaving children to their own devices with imagination and the most basic materials is explored by Helen Huleatt of Community Playthings with Professor Tina Bruce, Lynn McNair and Sian Wyn Siencyn.

Observe how absorbed the children can become in particular schemas when you provide resources and activities suggested by Diana Lawton.

One nursery combines learning through play with family involvement by making science boxes. Mary Evans finds out what it's all about.

Go back in time for children to get a sense of themselves and to explore concepts with activities across the early years curriculum suggested by Sheila Ebbutt.

An early years project aiming to promote inclusion through the creative arts challenged everyone's thinking. Louise Jackson explains how.

Contrasts, and cause and effect, are just some of the concepts within the learning to be found in an investigation of 'wet' and 'dry' by Carole Skinner, Fran Mosley and Sheila Ebbutt.

Practitioners put their ears to the ground when thinking how to promote language development, as Nicola Hutton and Laura Leddy explain.

Now's the time to go out on a leaf hunt and discover how many areas for learning they can lead you to. Try starting with these ideas from Carole Skinner, Fran Mosley and Sheila Ebbutt.

Creativity underpins all the learning at Kingsland Nursery School. Head teacher Nicola Mulliner explains why, in the first of an occasional series featuring Stoke-on-Trent's outstanding nursery schools.

Early years practitioners should be alert to the potential in all of their setting's creative provision for developing children's problem-solving, reasoning and numeracy (PSRN). Linda Pound shows where to find it.