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So Much More Than Play

If you have visited an Early Childhood classroom in recent years, you would have heard the lingo of play-based learning. So what is it?

Play-based learning is described in the Early Years Learning Framework as “a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations” (EYLF 2009 p46).

In Pre-Primary, we strive to build on your child’s God-given gifts while expanding their interests through a playful hands-on way. Although we focus on specific Threads in each topic, throughout the year Pre-Primary focuses heavily on the two Threads – Relishing Play and Unwrapping Gifts. Through exploration and play, students begin to develop the understanding that God has blessed them with gifts that they can use to glorify Him.

In this collaborative challenge, the children were given the opportunity to use their gifts (or as we say in Pre-Primary, “the things that they are good at”) to help their friends. Some classmates needed words of encouragement to have-a-go and other classmates needed their friends to assist them and teach them how to correctly use a tool. Through play, students have an attitude of joy as they respond to what God has provided and Christ has restored. They are given the opportunity to expand their gifts, and help others to develop their own gifts.

This year in Pre-Primary we have lots of boys in our class. For the first few weeks, all the boys did was to build cars, destroy cars and drive cars. It is my role to expand students beyond this level of play to further develop their skills.

So, the great building challenge was given to the students. In this challenge, the students were required to work together to build a Ferris Wheel (with some help). The drive for this project was for the student to develop the skills necessary to build their own car with moving wheels. You can see the results in the video above.

However, before we can build, we must play and explore. In Pre-Primary we have an amazing wood working bench (thank you to Mr Kuipers, our Design and Technology Teacher). We explored and played with the safe use of tools at our woodworking table, practising using real tools such as, nails, hammers and screws.

Once the students had explored for themselves they could be given their building challenge! The students followed this instructional video:

This week the students have listened to the story “If I Built a Car” by Chris Van Dusen. They have been given photo inspirations and will begin to design their own car.

As you can see, we are busy learning and building some advanced skills in Pre-Primary; however, if you walked past, what you would see and hear would be lots of noise, blocks, paper and pens all over the floor (some would say, you would see a mess!) However, what is really happening is children learning how they learn best, through play!

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