Play based learning is a term that is freely and openly used in the early childhood arena and one I am sure you have heard before. But what does it actually mean? What does it look like at kindergarten and how does your child benefit from this theory of teaching and learning?
When you walk into kindergarten you will notice that teachers have set up a multitude of invitations for children to interact with and explore. There is no set ‘end product or task’. There is no right or wrong way to use materials. Teachers have arranged resources to provoke curiosity, to provide an opportunity to discuss and engage. Children are free to manipulate resources with responsibility and respect. To engage with the material in the direction they see fit. To direct their own learning. To be free and unstructured.
But how can a 3 or 4 year direct their learning I can hear you ask?
The way each child engages with these material is unique to them. Their passions and interests influence their interaction with resources and their learning is extended as they engage with their peers and kaiako. We are often surprised and delighted by the diverse ways that children engage with our kindergarten spaces and resources.
By the way they play.
And it is in these moments that learning happens. Although it might not be the learning you are imagining.
Thinking of others, co operation, team work, problem solving, developing communication skills, exploring literacy, mathematic and science skills, reasoning, sharing of knowledge, empathy, responsibility, thinking flexibly, questioning, being creative, imaginative and innovative, developing perseverance and resilience. The list goes on.
So while it might look like ‘just’ play, your child is learning about themselves, their peers, their environment and the impact they have on these people, places and things.
Not bad for a average kindergarten day.