Playing probability games and recording results
Imagining that they're in a chrysalis
Sorting beans and macaroni by shape and colour
Building a medieval castle
When people hear "play-based" to describe the approach to teaching and learning in Ontario's Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten classroom, the most common misconception is that the children are "just" playing.
It might be more accurate to describe what we do each day as "learning THROUGH play". In basic terms, it means that the skills and knowledge that the children gather over the two year program are acquired through play, experience, interaction, and communication (rather than by the teacher delivering information, then having the children prove their understanding through one-on-one assessments and paper-and-pencil tasks). It might even be said that the children are learning because they are playing.
It is a child's birthright to spend their time playing. When children play, they:
*construct knowledge *process emotions *problem solve *internalise experiences * challenge themselves *laugh and have fun *imagine *learn to lead *learn to cooperate *develop as critical thinkers *manage stress *express ideas *develop an inquiring mind *foster healthy living habits
In our classroom, play takes two shapes. Free-choice play is where the children become engaged in many different activities of their choosing, such as playing in sand, water, or sensory materials, using art materials, building with blocks, sorting buttons, using math manipulatives, imagining with puppets or costumes, and so on). This is also our "inquiry" time in the day, where the teaching team circulates, listening and observing, watching for those little sparks of interest that come so naturally to children. As the children argue, solve problems, seek more information, and explore the play materials, we make notes and plan for the next day's deeper explorations.
Learning to blend consonant sounds in small groups
Finding words that start with their letter
Tune in tomorrow to find out more about a typical day in our classroom, what we like to call "The Flow of the Day".