Two Babies with a Treasure Basket.

Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play

a Baby Explores a Treasure Basket in the Gower School's Montessori Nursery in Islington,London.

Treasure Baskets

Treasure Baskets contain a vast range of everyday objects that are usually made from natural materials for babies to sit next to and explore. The baskets have a broad base and a large opening at the top, so the baby can see everything in the basket and access items easily if they wish. The items in the baskets are kept clean, safe and hygienic as babies enjoy exploring with their mouths.

We use Treasure Baskets at The Gower School as they assist babies in developing a number of skills. Young children enjoy learning and exploring through sensory play. They respond to their surroundings through the senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing, sight and movement. Treasure Baskets provide babies with a wide range of experiences that aid the brain to make connections and develop. Babies learn from Treasure Baskets by looking, touching, sucking, licking, banging, picking up and dropping. It gives babies the opportunity to explore and decide independently whatever they wish to play with.

An adult always sits nearby so they are able to observe and supervise. It is not necessary for an adult to intervene unless it is clearly required; in fact, adult interference is discouraged.

We use Treasure Baskets with Les Nounours, our three to 24 months old group, each day from 4pm to 6pm.

There is an annual Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play week when parents are invited to join their child in the classroom.

Heuristic Play

The word ‘heuristic’ comes from the Greek ‘Eureka’ meaning discovery, so the purpose of Heuristic Play is to discover by trial and error.

As babies develop, they have a natural growing curiosity to explore items and see what can be done with them. Heuristic Play consists of providing children with a large number of varied objects and receptacles, which they explore freely for as long as they wish. It is a natural progression from Treasure Baskets and was developed by a team of child experts.

Heuristic Play provides children with the chance to strengthen cognitive development, fine muscle control and also hand/eye coordination. Toddlers have the urge to handle objects and like to gather them, fill them, stack them and manipulate them in any way they can. Heuristic Play sessions allow children to do this with a wide range of real objects in a safe and secure environment. It also helps their attention span as children of this age tend to have difficulty staying focused on something for more than a few minutes. In addition to this, children benefit from handling ‘real’ objects made from metal or wood rather than plastic as it helps the refinement of their senses as they explore the items.

Heuristic Play is suitable for babies and toddlers and takes place daily:

Les Nounours (three months to 2 years old) have Heuristic Play and Treasure Basket sessions every day from 4pm to 6pm.

Les Petits Lapins (11 months to 2 years old) and Les Petits Poussins (18 months to 2 ½ years old) have Heuristic Play sessions three times a week during the morning from 9:30am to 11:30am.

There is an annual Treasure Basket and Heuristic Play week when parents are invited to join their child in the classroom. These are wonderful opportunities to spend quality time with your child, observe their development and see what catches their interest in the session.