Learning through playing was promoted at an Aldershot nursery enjoying an improved Ofsted rating.

Toy Box Early Years Centre, in Middle Hill, was rated as ‘good’ by inspectors who visited in October – an improvement on the previous rating when the centre was under different management.

Children aged between three and five arrived for the first of two daily sessions on January 7 to initiate their own learning through play activities dotted around the centre, something the staff at Toy Box promote.

Manager Jo Davey said: “The children were playing games, which promotes turn-taking; playing with trains, which teaches arranging shapes; using hand-eye co-ordination; and sharing resources.

“It’s about their engagement and curiosity about things.

“It’s all what they want to do. Most of it is child-initiated learning. The role of us as adults is to enhance that and to build on that and take it further.

“It might not look like it, but there is lots of learning that goes on in play.”

They also used building blocks to learn problem solving and trial and error.

The pre-school is open during term-time and was closed between December 20 and January 6, making this week the first of 2014 for the children.