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

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.

Outdoor play

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

School and out of home activities

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

Play, Active Learning

This factsheet provides an overview of the importance of structured play/active learning in Wales.

Cook ‘n’ Learn

In this film we visit the setting of several childcare professionals in England and Wales to see how they incorporate cooking in their setting.

Messy Play

This video looks at messy play and the benefits for little ones of discovering textures and sensations. Packed with loads of inspirational tips and great advice.

Telling Stories

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

Guidance for best practice and regulations

best practice

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.

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.

Schemas Factsheet

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

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.

Sustained, shared thinking

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

Overview of the Early Years Foundation Stage

Gives you the key facts and information on the EYFS.

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.

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.

The Early Years Foundation Stage

This free training course for PACEY members covers defining stages of development; identifying the emotions involved in working with parents when raising concerns; understanding effective communication methods; and creating a resource for parents.  

Child development

Toddler smiles

Transitions

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.

Routines  

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

Expectations of Behaviour

This free training course for PACEY members will help support you to understand what challenging behaviour means and explore workable strategies.

Children playing

Starting Out - Supporting Children’s Emotional Wellbeing

New to early years? This free training course for PACEY members provides you with information on how to support children's emotional wellbeing and the role of the key person.

Boys and girls

This in-depth two-hour webinar aimed at all childcare professionals helps you discover how boys' and girls' brains differ and recognise how best to support their learning and development. (£)

Seven areas of Learning and Development

Explore the prime and specific areas of learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage with this webinar. (£)

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.

Tools - available from PACEY's online shop

From the experts and community