I’m loving the idea of play based learning so much because it feels so natural and intuitive.
I believe things happen for a reason and I’m sure my experience of relief/substitute teaching was at a ‘play based’ primary/elementary school for a reason.
This is a philosophical approach to the learning environment, where they set up play areas. For example: a dress up imaginative play area, a kitchen, a workman area etc. and the children have periods of play where the teacher interacts with them to extend their learning.
How Parents Can Play At Home With Their Children Naturally
To give an example of how parents can do this naturally with their children at home I’ll use this example:
My son, Aston, got a Hot Wheels Car Garage for his 3rd birthday. It has a car ramp with a jump that triggers the shark to snap his jaws to catch the car over the jump.
We model different speaking skills as we put each car down the ramp – ‘can the green car make it down the ramp and through the sharks’ jaws’, ‘not today, maybe next time, the shark was too quick’.
He begins to use the same language as he and I model different ways of saying essentially the same thing.
At the end we have a row of cars that have made it through the jump and a row of cars that have not.
I ask ‘which row is bigger’ and he points to the bigger row. Then I say ‘the shark got more cars today than got through the jump. The shark must have been hungry today’.
Another Example In The Hail
It was hailing the other day and he’d never seen hail.
We ran to have a look. Then I was telling him ‘hail comes from the sky like rain but it is ice’. He picked up some and licked it!
Then we looked at YouTube videos of rain, hail and snow so he could see more examples of the difference. Seeing, feeling and touching the hail helped him experience the difference between rain and hail.
He has an idea of what snow is but until he has an actual experience with snow it will remain an abstract concept.
The most powerful learning is seeing, touching, feeling and doing while being scaffolded. Let’s help children experience learning while they are doing.
I want my son to go to a play based learning school. I can see he will thrive in this sort of environment. I don’t want his experience of school to be a negative one because it is too rigid and structured.