Encouraging Discovery and Curiosity in Nursery Play

The nursery years are incredibly formative. Not just in terms of learning new skills, but also with regards to discovering interests and exploring the power of creativity and curiosity.

Published on March 29, 2024

With nursery beginning for most children at such a young age, choosing the right nursery is incredibly important in framing those early experiences and supporting their development. For some, nursery is an experience that introduces them to the concept of peer interactions and basic principles like sharing. For others, it’s about finessing existing life lessons into education, and exploring what it’s like to discover a new personal interest. 

Nursery is very much built on the bridge between learning and play. How do we use play in particular to encourage curiosity and the discovery of new interests?

The importance of discovery at nursery

Discovery is more than just spending time outside and uncovering new games and interests. 

For children at the start of their education, for example in nursery, discovery is about learning who they are and what they are interested in, who they want to spend time with and what they like to do. They learn to be a part of a group and to function within a group setting. 

At nursery, promoting discovery is about giving children as much freedom as possible. Whether it is unstructured playtime or a chance to control how the nursery day is shaped and scheduled through negotiation and child-led decisions. This supports our commitment to mind, body, and world. This supports children as they discover more about themselves, about the environment around them and the world as a whole. 

How play nurtures enhanced curiosity in a nursery setting

For us, curiosity forms the backbone of most of what we do. From spending time outside to deciding on which games to play, creating new snacks in the kitchen, and uncovering new ways of learning and reading. Children need to be curious to be open to learning and development. The way we promote that is very important. 

Most of the games we play are either founded on a life skill or the opportunity to explore and experience free play for themselves. This creates structure even in free play and helps to encourage those interactions which inform opinions, interests, and more. What’s more, by keeping parents informed of what their children do and when, we carry that same curiosity with ways of continuing learning and discovery at home.

The role of play alongside learning

Learning at nursery lends itself to play because it provides an opportunity to enrich and immerse children in the foundational principles of learning in an engaging way. 

Nursery is arguably the best time to start guiding core principles because it is such a good time to get children interested in new things through the art of discovery. 

When it comes to finding the right nursery for your child, prioritise play alongside learning. This is where having a vision of the environment of the nursery and the people who will be supporting your child daily is so important.

Choosing the right nursery for your child

Learn more about the children who attend different nurseries, and the people who are there to support them every day. Here at My Ohana, we call our team members ‘extraordinary people. They engage with the children while promoting safety, recognising their unique traits, and encouraging a deep sense of community. 

We believe that nursery is an opportunity to instil lessons and interactions that will last a lifetime. Are you ready to give your child the gift of discovery? 

Find out more about our nursery programme and availability by getting in touch with us directly. 


We’ve been shortlisted for ‘Nursery Group Under 10 Settings’ in the National Day Nursery Awards 2022

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