Play in the Early Years Series (4 books) Cover

Play in the Early Years Series (4 books)

Advice on setting up discovery play sessions

In discovery play, children explore a range of natural materials to encourage them to discover at their own pace and in their own way. This practical guide offers advice on setting up treasure basket and discovery play sessions at all stages up to 5 years old.

Ages: 1-5 | Code: TS0183P

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Sheila Riddell-Leech

Sheila Riddall-Leech has worked in many settings in various parts of the UK and abroad. She was a deputy head of a large primary school with a nursery unit then a pre-school supervisor. She moved into further and higher education, teaching on a wide range of early years courses, degree programmes and awards.
Picture of Bridie Raban

Bridie Raban

Bridie Raban was the Foundation Mooroolbeek Professor of Early Childhood Studies at the University of Melbourne. She is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education and in 2021, she was awarded an Honorary University Fellowship by Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU). Her past research has focused on language and literacy development, teacher change and development, curriculum and assessment for the early childhood years and quality provision. She was the first Professor of Early Childhood Education in Victoria and the second in Australia, and before this she was Professor of Primary Education (Early Years) at the University of Warwick and President of the UK Reading Association.




What is discovery play?3
The role of the educator5
The theory of discovery play6
Links to the Early Years Learning Framework and schemas9
Discovery play for non-mobile babies (birth – 9 months)14
What is a treasure basket?13
Suggested objects for a treasure basket14
Safety and hygiene16
Beginning a collection16
Some common worries17
When to have a treasure basket session18
The role of the educator19
Links to the EYLF20
Suggestions for documentation21
Discovery play for mobile babies and toddlers (9 months – 2 years)22
What do children enjoy?22
What needs to be collected?24
Suggested objects for a treasure basked or discovery play session25
Caring for objects27
When to have a discovery play session27
The role of the educator28
Links to the EYLF29
Documentation suggestions and links to schemas31
Discovery play for young children (2–3 years)33
Types of play behaviours33
What do children enjoy?34
What needs to be collected?34
When to have a discovery play session35
The role of the educator35
Links to the EYLF37
Documentation suggestions and links to schemas38
Discovery play for young children (3–5 years)40
What do children enjoy?40
What needs to be changed?40
When to have an amended discovery play session43
The role of the educator43
Links to the EYLF44
Documentation suggestions and links to schemas45
References and further reading48