Why play-based learning is important for your child before they start school
Play-based learning is perfect for 4 year olds, particularly in the year before they start school, and in this article we look at the reasons why.
The Australian Government’s Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) states that play-based learning is ‘a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations’.
At C&K our kindy program immerses children in play-based learning environments supported by educators who pair literacy, numeracy and social skill development with children’s curiosity and creativity. The carefully designed curriculum looks to place the child at the centre of the educational experience where they can learn through engagement in fun activities.
How does play-based learning work?
Children are, by nature, born curious. The world around them is a constant source of wonder and excitement. Consider how entranced a small child will become by gum nuts, leaves and tree bark. Simple items found in nature that adults overlook, are often home to a world of imaginative and creative possibilities.
Play-based learning in action will see children happily involved in natural environments where they are engaged with elements like water, mud and sand. It is in this outdoor classroom setting that they are exposed to limitless opportunities for growth – social, emotional, cognitive, creative and physical. Every leaf, every rock and every branch is a rung on a ladder that leads to the development of confidence, communication and compassion.
Is play-based learning structured?
To put it simply – no, it isn’t. Play-based learning asks to plan lessons and learning experiences. It instead allows children the autonomy and independence to guide their own learning experiences to tap into individual areas of interest.
In a practical sense, this may mean that a conversation between a child and an educator about a plant would lead to watering, tending to a garden, choosing seeds and planting flowers. The rich experience that comes as a result of the child leading the way, instead of following a lesson plan, means that learning takes place in context.
Unstructured play-based learning in a natural setting provides scope for children to engage in healthy risk taking, problem solving and imagining. It also means that their health and general wellbeing is catered for as they are outdoors and immersed in physical activity.
Does play-based learning involve technology?
Many people in our society have, unfortunately, become passive users of technology. Play-based learning encourages children to become creators instead of consumers of technology. If it is used with purpose in order to create and investigate, then children can appropriately engage with technology to question and problem solve.
Where can I find play-based learning for my child in Brisbane?
C&K is a not-for-profit organisation that has been offering rich and varied learning experiences for Brisbane children since 1907. Play-based learning is a big focus for our programs. Babies and toddlers and children to the age of 5 are engaged, entranced and excited by learning, giving them a great start in their lifelong learning journey.
Time at kindy is vital to help your child get ready for school. Locate your nearest C&K Kindergaten or call us for more information on 1800 177 092.
This article was originally published in Families Magazine.