Learn about the 16 key areas of play and how they stimulate early childhood learning.

About BestStart

BestStart is for families who want more from early-childhood education. Safe, nurturing and educationally focused, we’re committed to growing caring people with curious minds. Together we teach, learn and nurture.Our vision is to work in partnership with families, whanau and communities to enable children to achieve their learning potential.

Play is a valuable way that children naturally learn and for this reason it has become an important aspect of teaching and learning within New Zealand early childhood centres.

Children learn best when they have the time, space and support to explore, experiment and try things out. Providing interesting play materials and opportunities that spark interest is a good starting point. We’d like to share our experience in this important space with families at home so together we can all support our young ones to love learning.

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We’ll help you understand what learning happens through different types of play so you can learn how to support your child’s development.

Explore BestStart's 16 areas of play

Dr Barbara Backshall has worked in early childhood education for over 40 years, starting as a teacher, moving through her career into leadership and advisory roles. Barbara has spent a substantial time researching and lecturing on early childhood education at the University of Auckland, including work in the areas of human development from birth to eight years, early childhood curriculum, early learning in mathematics and science, children’s play, infant and toddler learning environments and developing practice guides for student teachers. Barbara currently works as a Professional Practice Leader for BestStart and loves the connection between theory, practice and children, families and teachers.