The KS1 teacher – a play based approach to teaching and learning

Are you like me, a real lover of learning through play? If so, please follow me on this journey, transforming the teaching and learning in KS1 to a play based approach.  I would love to hear all about your ideas too!

I think my love of play probably comes from my EYFS background, I specialised in ages 3 to 7 and then taught in FS2 for seven years, however, I am now teaching in Year 2.  I have seen the significant impact quality provision can have on progress and I really want to develop play based provision from FS2 into Year 1 and through to Year 2.  I have wanted to do this for such a long time, but we have never been in the right place as a school. However, now we are and it is all starting to come together for us, I’m so excited!

To help us on our journey, we have been working with Early Excellence, as part of a cluster project. Through this project, we get CPD to support our understanding of quality play, focusing on skill development. We get support from a consultant in school to develop our provision and we get ideas for resources too.

We have just had our first consultant visit and it was a huge success.  She listened to our vision and how we wanted it to work for our children and she helped us develop our ideas.  She offered fresh eyes and helped us identify next steps.  It was so inspiring and nice to have time to just sit and talk things through, as a team.  Everyone is buzzing and inspired now too! I’m not alone, we all have the same vision!

Now, in an ideal world, I’m sure we would all love to pick up the Early Excellence catalogue and buy the complete classroom sets, right?  But in reality budgets don’t stretch that far unfortunately.  I feel extremely lucky that we have been able to be part of a project in the first place!  Our consultant understood this and although she showed us lots of Early Excellence products and resources, she also gave us lots of practical tips, using what we already have.


– taking cupboard doors off to create open shelving instead of buying in new furniture from the beginning.  She talked about how this will give us more time to think about what we actually want anyway and what will work in our classrooms too.

– creating areas and having tables that are linked to that area yet not in that area as we still need to be able to teach whole class.

– prioritising the areas we need, like small world and construction to ensure all curriculum areas are taught effectively.  A must for our Year 2’s has to be small world and imaginative play as this will help them be more creative in their writing and develop understanding in their reading.  Also, an enquiry area, to get that really high quality Science teaching and learning in a more purposeful and enjoyable way.  Our construction area is also going to be a focus, all linked to structures and mechanisms.  Having this in provision will allow our children lots of time over the year to play and refine ideas rather than one or two weeks here and there!

Keep tuned to follow our journey and to see what quality KS1 provision looks like in practice and how we can make it work!

silhouette of person holding glass mason jar
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on

Stratford-upon-Avon – Things to do – top tips and recommendations

We absolutely love Stratford Upon Avon and it is our ‘go to’ place for a short escape from reality! This must be our 6th or 7th visit now and every trip brings something new and it always allows us to ‘recharge our batteries’ before we head back to the real world.

There is so much to see and do in Stratford, whether you are looking for a family break, romantic weekend away or just a day out! Famous for the great William Shakespeare and the stunning historical buildings, Stratford has so much to offer for all.

Must sees;

  • The Shakespeare buildings – Mary Arden’s Farm, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Shakespeare’s Birthplace, New Place and Halls Croft are all a must see and if you buy the full story ticket you not only get a discount by booking online and upfront, but your ticket is also valid for a whole year and you can visit as many times as you wish in that year! We have only ever been to these houses as a couple, however, it is perfect for little ones, especially Mary Arden’s Farm. We intend to go back as a family this summer. To find out more, click here.
  • Why not travel around Stratford, to all of Shakespeare’s houses, on an open top bus! City Sightseeing offers a hop on, hop off service with 11 stops around the city, including all the main sights and attractions. You also get an audio commentary as you are travelling around which is available in 7 different languages. A great way to see Stratford without the hassle of driving and parking! The bus only runs in the summer but I would definitely recommend it, especially the audio commentary that offers an element of humour too.
  • River boat rides and cruises – Another great experience, especially on a sunny day. Take a scentic trip along the river Avon and view Stratford from the water. You can also dine on a river boat if that takes your fancy! Just stroll through Bancroft gardens to the river and hop straight onto a boat. Choose from Canal and River tours, River cruises and rowing boats, Sightseeing river cruises or a restaurant cruiser.
  • Stratford Racecourse – This is one of my absolute favourites! Top tip – for a relaxed day, book tickets in the centre enclosure and take your own picnic or barbecue! Add this together with friends and family and you have a fantastic day out! All for the bargain price of £10 per person. My husband and I had an amazing experience, camped out at the edge of the race course, right by the finish line, prosecco in hand! I just love the thud of the horses and the vibration through the ground as they get closer! There is always such a buzz of excitement and happiness in the atmosphere as the horses drawn in. I even won a few cheeky bets which covered my ticket entry, free day out! Bonus!! Another top tip, especially if you don’t like walking – book a taxi in advance as you won’t get one afterwards. However, if you don’t mind a stroll, the walk back into Stratford is actually quite nice! It is just over a mile and it took us about 40 minutes (after a few!).
  • Finally, you have the theatres. My husband and I both have an appreciation for Shakespeare and enjoyed studying his plays during our younger days at school. We decided that as we were in Stratford, it would only be right to go to the theatre and experience it first hand, in his home town! Hamlet was on at the time. So we booked tickets, which you can get at really good price if you don’t mind where you sit, which again we didn’t as it was all about the experience of something new for us. It is definitely an acquired taste, but ‘when in Rome!’

Like I say, we have been to Stratford about 6 or 7 times now, but we still haven’t managed to see everything. There is so much more to explore, like the butterfly farm, MAD museum and Tudor World amongst a few. I will be sure to update you after our next visit! Also, check out my blogs on accommodation and eating out in Stratford!