Learning Through Play
“Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn.” - O. Fred Donaldson
The purpose of the first year of school is to establish a sense of belonging and wellbeing at school, and to teach children that the learning journey they are embarking upon is a fun one. Engagement is a key aspect of a successful transition and in building the foundation for a disposition for future learning (Peters, 2010).
Children transitioning into school are often confronted with formal teaching and learning approaches that contrast sharply with what they have experienced in contemporary early childhood education (ECE) settings. Some children are also not ready for a formal school setting and way of learning when they start on their learning journey at school. This encompasses not just academic areas, but social skills, oral language, core skills (such as cutting, pencil grip, gluing etc), gross motor physical skills, fine motor skills, independence and ability to open lunch box containers are a few of the examples.
Learning Through Play contributes positively to a child’s sense of well-being. It enhances a child’s natural capacity for intense and self-motivated learning. It helps build creative and critical thinkers, and lets children test social boundaries. Play produces curiosity, openness, optimism, resilience and concentration. It enhances a child’s memory skills, develops their language skills, helps regulate their behaviour, advances their social skills and encourages academic learning to take place.
At St Mary's School all our year 0-1 learners have the opportunity to engage in Learning Through Play.