At Dinky DI Children’s’ Learning Centre’s we are guided by the principles, practices and outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework that support and enhance young children’s learning from birth to five years of age, as well as their transition to school. The Early Years Learning Framework defines play-based learning as ‘a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations’
When many of us think about play, we probably think of free play, which is unstructured and directed by children, usually without adult involvement.
Play-based learning, though, is more usefully conceived as a spectrum, with free play at one end and teacher-guided, playful learning at the other. In between are a variety of methods either entirely based on play or incorporating elements of it.
For example, a skilled educator can help children discover new ideas when they play with water. The educator might encourage children to playfully experiment with water tubs and toys in a way that allows them to develop their own hypotheses about how water behaves in certain situations and why.
The educator could work with the children to test their hypotheses, questioning and talking to them about what they observe during their play.