close open in new window Early Years QM Cycle
The QM Cycle

Element 8

The use of appropriate environments and resources

The physical environment plays a key role in encouraging, supporting and extending young children’s development and learning so that they grow in confidence and fulfil their potential. Early years settings need to provide access to both indoor and outdoor environments that are welcoming, safe and stimulating; where young children are able to interact, enjoy learning through free play and movement and explore rich and diverse learning and development opportunities. For some settings, for example those without the use of purpose-built facilities, with limited outside space or where equipment has to be set out and packed away for each session, physical constraints in accommodation and/or location may make achieving this a challenge. However, with imagination and a determination to ‘think outside of the box’, solutions can be found and appropriate provision achieved.

The provider must ensure they comply with all the legal requirements to safeguard and promote children’s welfare by providing suitable premises, environments and equipment. Outdoor and indoor spaces, furniture, equipment and toys must be safe and suited to the age, interests and abilities of the young children using them. 

ICT should be used appropriately to stimulate, support or extend learning. It can also provide children with access to alternative communication systems and allow them to discover ways of recording ideas or gain access to texts in an alternative way.

Monitoring, through the observation of activities, should identify whether resources are being used effectively and whether they have a positive impact on learning.

‘The self-audit template makes it easy to collate all the evidence – an excellent resource.’

Director, private nursery in Durham LA