Play. Create. Learn. has been our tagline from Day 1. When we decided our blog would focus on the educational life of kids that have moved out of the pre-early elementary stages that the FunInABoxCanada Activity Kits target, we thought Create – definitely, Learn – obviously, but Play? – maybe it sounds too young.
But then, “play-based learning”is widely adopted as an effective and appropriate model in an ECE setting, so why do many decide something needs to change at age 5 or 6?
Play: a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment. Play often entertains props, tools, toys in the context of learning and recreation.
ummm…isn’t that what we’re going for here?!?…intrinsically motivated students who enjoy the process of learning?
A play-based environment doesn’t have to mean completely free-range and unstructured. In an ECE setting even free play is somewhat directed by the space and materials available. This model often continues into Kindergarten, with well stocked science centres featuring natural objects, possibly animals/insects, plants and seeds, prisms, magnifying glasses; multi-media art centres; book corners; construction centres. All of a sudden, by around Grade 2, these centres disappear and if we’re lucky we get 4 desks pushed together for “group learning” and 15 minutes of “free time” to read or play a game – if everyone has behaved well.
At this point, many of you are fervently protesting (I hope) that your classroom is full of experiential learning opportunities, you wouldn’t be caught dead doing a times tables drill and you encourage student discussion in your classroom… Okay then, I’d love to know how you spread the word about your students’ successes to other teachers – in your school, in other schools.
Please share how you encourage PLAY with your older students and how you help to encourage other teachers to make that (perceived) extra effort.