Play Based Learning…Does It Work?
As you may recall Little Monkey has now been going to school (a half day program) for a good three months now. She goes to her school gladly and ‘school is fun but sometimes I don’t want to go to school’ is the usual response when we ask her if she likes school. However the part I struggle with is the answers I get to ‘ What did you do in school today?’ and ‘what did you eat in school today?’. It sounds a lot like we’re paying for her to go and play by herself (she still doesn’t like people…!). What did she do in school today?
That’s a simple question you would think – right? WRONG! I expected Little Monkey to learn all sorts of educational things at pre-school…that’s what we were paying for …right? She should be reading books and writing her name and colouring numbers. Right? Well then can you tell me why I get the response ‘ I did nothing…but I made a painting for you and I played with puzzles‘? That sounds like a whole day of play and not as much learning. Wait a minute… are we paying for her to go and play or are we paying to educate her? Who’s going to teach her how to write letters? Not I surely! The whole playing vs. learning debate is one that’s quite fascinating and one that Little Monkey’s teachers have brought up during our PTA meetings. Play based learning has many benefits and while it was initially a struggle for me to understand the concept, I am now fully embracing this method of teaching and learning. In fact it’s one of the key features we’re hoping to find at her new school. Kids are learning through their play and this makes learning (and school) a lot more fun for them.
Disclosure: I am part of the #BrightPathED program and sponsored as part of this association. As always, opinions are totally mine!
I’m researching kindergarten school options for next year and BrightPath Kids came across my radar for the first time. They have programs for the little ones (starting at 6 weeks) and offer full day JK programs. They even have after school care for kids as old as 12. Over the next couple of months they’ll be challenging me to explore different topics that have us parents with young tots pondering and I hope you’ll share you views with us!
Play versus learning...It’s a fine balance. I might see her playing with puzzles but what she’s really doing is honing her problem solving, motor and hand-eye coordination skills. She’s learning about shapes, colours and how she can navigate small pieces to see a bigger picture. That’s learning! Play based learning is gaining popularity in the education system and with good reason. I wasn’t originally a believer but I’m seeing the results first hand. She knows her shapes and can recognize numbers and letters after starting pre-school. In addition her pretend play skills have also improved leaps and bounds!
All this play at school has me combing through Pinterest for EASY play based activities and at least one night a week I’ve been doing some fun stuff with her. You may recall our coconut oil lip balm and play dough experiences! She also loves her puzzles and got quite a few for Christmas along with some old school techno gadgets like Lite Brite and Beados. Building blocks are also a fun way for them to learn about balance, colours and numbers. That’s all learning through play and is much more fun than sitting at a desk counting sticks!
According to their site “BrightPath is an innovative provider of early education. We continuously examine new ways to bring the highest quality of care and development to our children while providing convenience, service and value to our families. With partnerships in curriculum, nutrition, technology and recreational fitness programming, BrightPath is committed to providing families with the very best care, programs and child development Canada has to offer.
Above all else, nothing should take precedence over the well-being and safety of our children. BrightPath is dedicated to providing the very best environment for children to play, grow and develop.”
So tell me…does your kid enjoy play based learning?
February 5, 2015 @ 12:12 pm
Hey Yashy! I actually really struggled with play based learning and while over the last few months I have seen big positive changes in my 4 yr old (she is full day JK) I think I would not be as happy w her school as I am if the teachers were still not doing some ‘traditional’ learning. They still have things like math circles and word boards etc so while I feel on some days that I am drowning in pictures of princesses and hearts on others I see things like improved penmanship or a manifestation of basic math skills. (I can feel play based learning fans glowering at me as I write this…) 🙂
February 5, 2015 @ 6:35 pm
So glad to know that it’s working out for you guys. I’m sure it’s going to be great once she starts full day JK because the school we’ve found offers a good combo too!
February 25, 2015 @ 7:26 am
This is interesting to me. I have a 5 year old and a 3 year old and I definitely believe in play based learning. But I would much rather they did that kind of learning at home, rather than day care or preschool.
I would love to hear how your daughter gets along with liking people. One of mine has the same struggle and I’m wondering if I should push it, or wait and coach her along little by little.
February 26, 2015 @ 11:32 pm
She loves her friends at school and seems to like the teachers so I’m guessing the people issue is softening ever so slowly. I hope so any ways! I honestly think the reason she likes going to school is the fact that she gets to ‘play-learn’. She’s definitely picking up things at school and even knows how to write the alphabet (few letters) so I’m definitely coming to realize that our school has a good play based learning curriculum in place. Let me know how your little one gets along!
April 26, 2016 @ 11:17 pm
I think it works well when the kids learn through play