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Free Download And Print Early Learning Planing Form

In a playful early learning setting, caregivers become support staff responsible for managing the play environment–assuring children have access to what they need to lead their learning. With practice, many seasoned practitioners do this kind of planning on the fly– making changes to the space, altering the schedule, offering materials, and more throughout the day as the interests and needs of the kids change. This form is designed to help practitioners who are not comfortable doing such planning in their head or on the fly. It’s a simple–and free- document that’ll serve as training wheels for folks interested in building play-friendly environments.


  • In the first box, the goal is to capture things the kids in your setting may be interested in. The thing’s they are doing, talking about, thinking about, and experiencing. These things tend to spark play so they’re a good starting point for creating your play environment. Anything could end up in this box–zombies, kittens, Death, cars, babies, gravity, unicorns, snow, Round, peas, addition, etc.
  • In the second box, list stuff you can add to the space that may support the above interests. For example, if kids are interested in the concept of gravity, adding ramps, catapults, and stuff to throw or drop to the play would be a good idea.
  • The next box asks what things can be removed from the environment. This pruning frees up space for the things the kids are interested.
  • Next, how can the environment be altered to better support the interests you listed in the first box? For example, if the kids are really interested in zombies, it may be a good idea to move the tables to the sides of the room and put down the tumbling mats to support the chasing and rough-and-tumble play that will likely grow from the interest.
  • Lastly, what else can you do to be supportive? This may mean having a more flexible schedule if you notice they get deep into ramp play and proving the concept of gravity or it could mean discussing the importance of rough-and-tumble play with your director if you know zombie-play will raise an eye brow when she walks past the classroom.

If you use this document in your program, please let us know how it works for you and share ideas for improvements in the comments.


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I'm an early learning speaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ and Explorations Early Learning.