Duration: 2 hours

Accreditation Standards: 1 and 2

What is heuristic play? What are treasure baskets? How does this style of learning positively impact infants and toddler development?

Heuristic play is any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method. It’s not guaranteed to be optimal, perfect, logical, or rational, but instead sufficient for reaching an immediate goal. It is learning by trial and error.

Heuristic play theory was developed by Elinor Goldschmied in the 1990’s. She realized that babies often prefer to play with ordinary objects rather than toys. Treasure baskets are built specifically for non-mobile infants who can comfortably sit. Children who are walking, and up to that age of three are engaged with “islands” of interesting, purposeful materials set up around a classroom.

Adults can easily observe the young child’s thinking while interacting with these learning tools. Heuristic play emphasizes what infants and toddlers can do rather than what they are unable to do.

Facilitators will lead participants in discussion to create an awareness and understanding of heuristic play and how it impacts infants and toddlers as well as the child care profession.

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