Early Stage One Visits, Self Regulation, Dispositions for Learning


As part of their learning journey at St Luke’s the children at the Catholic Early Learning Centre (CELC) have begun to visit the Early Stage One Learning spaces. This has been a wonderful opportunity to support the children’s continuity of experience at St Luke’s Catholic College.

These visits have been during  Early Stage One’s “Developmental Play” which occurs  each day. The play based setting provides familiar experiences for the CELC children to explore the learning spaces.

After observing the Early Stage one children beginning their day (peer modelling) the children from the CELC selected areas to play and interacted with other children, teachers, the learning space and materials. In their explorations, the children displayed their  developing self regulation and capabilities towards  “Managing Self ” as they begin to recognise their emotions ( St Luke’s Pillars of Learning.)

Self-regulation is an essential skill for children to develop in their early years, providing a foundation for children to develop positive dispositions to learning as they continue along their learning journey.

Self -regulation is how we manage our reactions and behaviour.  It encompasses emotional regulation, attentional regulation (maintaining focus), thinking processes (which includes working memory, inhibition control, mental flexibility) and social behaviours.

In their play in Early Stage one, the children were able to practise these self regulatory behaviours. Developing self regulatory behaviours in the early years provides a foundation for children to develop positive dispositions to learning.

This is particularly important as children continue to develop their capabilities and self regulation in their continuity of learning in the school environment.


Role play opportunities were set up including a grocery store and Doctors surgery in the learning space. In their role play, many of the children’s emerging self regulatory behaviours were observed during our first week of visits.

The children practised emotional regulation by remaining calm throughout their play in an unfamiliar environment. They used flexible thinking to solve the problems that emerged in their play (for example, negotiating who was customer and who was shopkeeper); attitudinal regulation was displayed by the children keeping to the storyline in their play (maintaining focus); working memory was employed as the children recalled who the other characters in the role play were and what their role entailed, sticking to the storyline of the play; and cooperative play behaviours were observed as the children practised their turn taking whilst sharing their thoughts and ideas in their play.

These self regulatory behaviours will support children’s transition to extended learning opportunities as they continue their learning journey at St Luke’s. A positive disposition to learning is emerging from these early play based learning experiences.

At the end of our visit, the children reflected on their experiences in the Early Stage one classroom, sharing their favourite parts. From this reflection, the children decided to extend their doctors role play further in the CELC environment where a Doctors surgery has now been set up.  We look forward to seeing where this investigation will take us.

From their experience, the children are eager to revisit soon. Thank you Early stage One teachers and children, we look forward to many more visits!


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