What Is Play-Based Learning?

Learning Philosophy - Continuum of Playful Learning
Source: https://www.unicef.org/sites/default/files/2018-12/UNICEF-Lego-Foundation-Learning-through-Play.pdf. Adapted from Zosh, Jennifer N., et al. Learning through play: a review of the evidence. LEGO Foundation, 2017.
At Orchard Ridge Nursery School, you’ll hear us mention our play-based learning curriculum. But what does this mean in practice?

First and foremost, children need to feel like they have control over their play. They need to feel like they are involved in what activities they choose. This is why all our teachers take the interest of their students in mind when organizing their daily routines.

But beyond that, play-based learning has the following things in common:

1. Play is Meaningful

Play helps children make sense of the world around them. It also helps children solve problems in imaginative and playful ways.

Here are some examples in which a play-based curriculum is meaningful:

  • It expands a child’s ability to retain information
  • It helps a child learn how to strategize (learn how to plan, implement the plan, and change the plan if necessary)
  • It helps a child learn perspective-taking skills
  • It expands a child’s ability to follow instructions

2. Play is Joyful

Play should be a pleasant experience. It should motivate the children to want to keep on playing.

3. Play is Actively Engaging

Play should be something that engages the physical, mental, and verbal skills of the child.

4. Play is Iterative

Play should allow children to practice new and old skills as many times as needed.

5. Play is Socially Interactive

Play should allow children to practice interpersonal communication. It should enable them to communicate their ideas and learn how to understand the views of others.

Tips For Finding A School

Here are some useful tips for finding a quality play-based preschool:

  • It will have both indoor and outdoor play
  • It will integrate the child’s natural interests into the daily routines
  • It will have a variety of play spaces within the room
  • It will allow the children time to have a choice over what to play with during the day
  • It will allow children the ability to play for long periods without interruption
  • It will allow children to play both with others and by themselves

Learn More

Check out Wonderschool, Edmentum, and Unicef to learn more about play-based learning.

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