Play Based Learning
According to the Early Years Learning Framework, Play-Based Learning in early childhood education focuses on organisational and social skills needed for your child to actively engage in the fast paced the 21st century. Here are four ways play-based learning benefits children in the early years.
Encourages language skills
A child’s vocabulary grows and develops as they play together with peers and interact with adults. The context of play allows for this to happen in a natural way and learning is amplified as it is enjoyable and relevant to the child’s interests.
Supports pre-literacy skills
Participating in play that involves music and rhyme supports the development of pre-literacy skills, such as listening skills and sound recognition. Activities such as singing songs and reciting rhymes play a big part in laying the foundations for reading and basic literacy.
Develops social and emotional skills
The ability to develop positive relationships has also been linked to play-based learning. As children play with each other they learn to get along with one another, use words to communicate their needs, cooperate and resolve conflicts. Emotional competence and empathy are developed through play as children learn about the feelings, emotions and motivations of others.
Playing is also a known stress release and children can engage in calm play when the day becomes ‘too much’ for them. Calm play can be therapeutic and allows time for the brain to process information and recharge.
Fosters creativity and imagination
Research has linked play to fostering creativity and imagination, valued traits that are vital in the modern world. Fostering imagination in its ‘natural habitat’ of play at an early age is fundamental to developing curiosity and raising a generation of creative problem-solvers. Mini-Skool adopts this learning model in programming our learning. Opportunities are provided through programs and routines that will allow each child to learn self-discipline and independence while feeling free to choose the areas of interest in which they will participate throughout the day.
Children may engage in play on their own and explore different materials. They may also play with each other and use materials to represent other objects. This type of play, known as symbolic play, holds great value in developing cognitive skills, imagination and social competence.
Developmental Portfolio and End of Year Reports
Each child’s learning and development is assessed as part of an ongoing cycle of planning, documenting and evaluation. The educators follow a simple and effective method of observing and documenting, linking to the Early Years Learning Framework and planning. Educators gather a variety of documentation including individual observations, group observations, photos, their developmental summaries and artwork/work samples which are incorporated into an individual electronic folder per child, known as the child’s portfolio. Parents have access to view, comment and add to their child’s digital portfolio at any given time, through a secure login system.
We also conduct parent/teacher interviews in order to discuss, on a one to one basis, the achievements and concerns we feel important to be raised with you. Parent’s also receive individual child’s developmental summary at the end of the year.
Every week the educators reflect on their program which enables them to think about what went well, what was enjoyed, what can be added to and how to further extend individual child’s learning. There is a constant pattern of evaluation which keeps the children engaged, excited, stimulated and developing new learning opportunities and skills.