Thank you to all the parents that attended the cafe conversation on Play-based Learning. Parents walked in the shoes of our children and experienced the learning environments that provide a variety of opportunities and tools for them to develop different skills.
This blog post is a window into the play based session for the early years parents. It was an absolute pleasure to watch you play.
We have grouped your questions and wonderings coming out of the session into four themes which we have made comment on below:
How can we (as parents) help to develop our child’s fine motor skills?
Fine motor skills require the use of the small muscles in your child’s hands and arms to manipulate objects. There are many ways we can develop these skills, some ways are: threading with beads onto pipe cleaners, poking straws into holes making a necklace out of pasta, building 3D models, pebble sorting, paper weaving, self care including dressing, tying shoelaces, zips, buttons, belts and cutting with scissors.
How do you (the teachers) develop social skills in the children?
The classroom is a complex place where children are learning many new skills. One area of skill development is social skills. Social skills are the skills we use everyday to interact and communicate with others. They include verbal and non-verbal communication, such as speech, gestures, facial expressions and body language. Through the strategies of circle time, stories about communicating with others, stories about conflict resolution, games that provide opportunities for children to learn to take turns, cooperate and handle frustration are some ways we do this.
How does play based learning translate into formal learning?
Research is clear that learning through play forms the basis for all learning. Research also tells us that the formal teaching of academics before the child shows readiness does not lead to faster cognitive development. Play-based learning promotes a positive, enthusiastic attitude to learning and encourages independence and confidence in the children. There are many forms of play, for example guided play, pretend play, symbolic play, free choice play, through which our teachers are trained to develop children’s learning when they show a readiness. Our experience, backed by research, clearly shows that through play children learn- the basis for future learning.
How does flexible sitting work for learning work?
As parent when we were at school we only had one way of sitting to learn. Learning looks very different in today’s classroom where flexible seating and flexible spaces support flexible teaching approaches to learning. Children are encouraged to make decisions about what is more appropriate when they are learning. They may choose to be at a table, sitting on a bean bag or tucked up on the ledge. They are learning to make choices about what is appropriate for different learning tasks.