Play Based Learning

Some of our Junior classes have been developing more play-based learning. This is a big focus for schools all around Upper Hutt and New Zealand, as there is compelling research to support learning this way in Primary schools.

In our New Entrant classes in 2016 we found that children transitioned better into the classroom when they began the day with play. After researching with colleagues at other schools, we started a largely play based programme in New Entrants. Since then, all Junior classes have begun to look at how more choice and play could support learning and help develop important skills like resilience, problem solving, creativity, making friends, collaboration and independence.

All our New Entrant classes currently have play as a part of their day. They have exactly the same Reading, Writing, Maths and Inquiry planning as other classes, but the management of the day is different. As children are free to follow interests when not working with the teacher, they are highly engaged. They talk more to each other and develop more complex games and activities. This means the teacher can spend time supporting and developing their interests, but also more time teaching groups and individual children, rather than managing other children at the same time.

If you visited these classes you might have seen a mini school designed and developed by the children complete with teaching writing from a writing modelling book. A tent and campsite was created from sheets and found materials. While exploring fairy tales, children built fantastic bridges, and you might hear detailed conversations about colour and texture when playing with art materials.

We are happy to share some of the benefits we are seeing. Teachers are continually reflecting and making small changes to meet the needs of the classes they have. Talk to Claire Martin (DP) if you would like to hear more about this.