Creating enabling environments

What makes an environment enabling? How can I put it into practice? Find all you need to know with these brilliant resources, activities, guidance and tools from PACEY.

Enabling environments overview

To create an enabling environment, childcare professionals must consider not only the physical environment indoors and outdoors but also the emotional environment, recognising the significance of parent-practitioner relationships and how safe and at home the children feel within the setting. 

An enabling environment plays a key role in supporting children’s learning and development. It is well recognised that children learn and develop best in caring, supportive environments which respond to their individual needs, allowing them to play and explore. 

You can access a range of materials from this page to help you create an enabling environment for children in your care, simply click on the different areas below for a list of resources available to PACEY members.

Creative ideas

Nursery girls drawing

England and Wales

Imaginative play  

An in-depth look at the value of imaginative play and how to support children to play imaginatively in your childcare setting.

Child-led play and adult-led play

An overview that explores the key points and tips to support child-led and adult-led play in your setting.

School and out of home activities

Information outlining key points and suggested activities for childminders and nannies in England and Wales.

Telling Stories

A seven minute long video on the topic of story telling and the benefits in learning and development it provides.


Outdoor play

An information factsheet that summarises the value of outdoor play and the key points to remember.


Inspiring Environments

A toolkit to support the development of quality home-based childcare. Developed in partnership with Elizabeth Jarman and childminders in Wales this toolkit will be of interest to anyone working in childcare who is keen to develop environments that support children's well-being, learning and development. Dig in for a collection of ideas, inspiration and tools to help new and existing childcare practitioners develop and maintain a sustainable business.

Guidance for best practice and regulations

best practice

England and Wales

Child Observations and Learning Journeys

A step-by-step guide to the observation process and the importance of child observation and learning journeys. Plus discover the benefit of online journal system Kinderly, complete with extra benefits for PACEY members.

Schemas Factsheet

This factsheet explains patterns of children's behaviour, known as schemas.

Information on what sustained shared thinking really means and how you can encourage and make opportunities for it in your setting.


Planning for learning

What is the importance of assessment, the different types of assessment and planning? Find out with this practice guide, including examples to support you.

Early Years Foundation Stage areas of learning

Best practice when it comes to delivering the prime and specific areas of learning and the ways you can support children's development in these.

Characteristics of effective learning

This factsheet gives an insight into how children learn. Including playing and exploring, active learning, creating and thinking critically.

Assessing children’s progress

A factsheet for early years and childcare professionals that explores the process for assessing children's progress.

The progress check at 2 years of age

"When a child is aged between 2 and 3, practitioners must review their progress..." find out more with this handy factsheet.

Observations, assessments and planning to support children’s progress – the planning cycle

A factsheet for early years and childcare professionals in England outlining the importance of observations, assessment and planning.


Our Spotlight on the new curriculum for Wales includes useful information and links.


This factsheet for early years and childcare professionals in Wales provides an overview of the pedagogy of the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings. 

Cross curricular skills

This factsheet for early years and childcare professionals in Wales provides an overview of the cross-curricular skills of the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings. The curriculum for Wales has been developed with the mandatory skills embedded within the developmental pathways. These include literacy, numeracy and digital competence all of which are skills young children should acquire and master as part of their learning journey.

Play and play-based learning

This factsheet for early years and childcare professionals in Wales provides an overview of the importance of play and play based learning in Wales. 

Developmental pathways

This factsheet for early years and childcare professionals in Wales provides an overview of the of the five developmental pathways of the curriculum for funded non-maintained nursery settings. 

Child development

Toddler smiles

England and Wales


An in-depth look at different types of transitions that children go through and the support you can give with the settling-in process.

Supporting children's thinking

This practice guide gives you an insight into how children's brains develop and start the thinking process.

Supporting children's language development

Want to know how to support and understand children's language development? This practice guide can help.

Starting from children's interests

This guide gives you information about the value of settling children in; the role of the key person in building positive relationship and using children's interests to inform planning.

Children’s emotional needs

A fantastic factsheet that gives you information to explore the importance of supporting children's emotional wellbeing.

Managing feelings and behaviour

If you'd like to know how you can encourage and support children's development and managing feelings and behaviour, check out this factsheet.

Key person

Discover the value of the key person and how you can fulfil this role this effectively.


Find out why routines are important and how you can help children learn about and establish routines.

Children playing

Working with Babies

This video for PACEY members looks at how different childcare professionals approach working with babies and helps you reflect on your practice and suggest practice development areas.