After a new beginning in a brand new school that values and celebrates the “whole” child its time to PAUSE…….EVALUATE………QUESTION……..where to next?
A question that we keep asking ourselves is “How can we make the learning look different and have meaning for each individual child?” The answer that continues to resonate is allowing our students to learn through play.
So that is our “where to” next perspective, enabling our students to learn through purposeful playing that connects to enhancing their social emotional skills while supporting and challenging their oral communication development. A major challenge has always been providing enough time for the students to explore their chosen activity and build on the play observed. Add to this the quandary of meeting all Key Learning area outcomes and so the problem solving begins….pushing the boundaries so that as children move from an early childhood setting into school, the classroom setting and program reflects the needs and natural curiosity of each child!
What might this look like in 2018 and what will we need to do?
At St Luke’s Catholic College, Marsden Park we are already achieving so much due to the flexibility of our learning spaces and the ability of our staff to take a risk and try something new! Being a role model for our students is very important and allowing them the freedom to grow and learn while encouraging autonomy are essential ingredients towards creating “life long learners”. In a previous blog posting called “Connecting purposeful play with speaking and listening” I shared how we had connected playing with our schools 6 Pillars of learning and social skills. Our new challenge is to rethink how we present and encapsulate play into the daily learning so that there is a flow on from the early childhood settings where children are used to accessing a variety of learning centres on a daily basis to an Early Stage One classroom where we have a Focus 160 perspective (English 100 minutes and maths 60 minutes EVERY day) to consider. One new perspective being considered is incorporating modelled/shared writing into the actual play time and children will pause during their play to gather in a play space and record a message about what is happening. The students will then return to their play and have more time to add to the play occurring around them and have access to writing materials so as to record their own message. Remembering that at the beginning of the year drawing and painting is a form of writing and a way of recording ideas and thinking. Writing may be taking place in the block and engineering space or dramatic play………the solutions are endless……..but we need to keep pushing the boundaries because the way children learn are so diverse and unique. Play is serious learning!
Giving children a voice is essential to a successful play based program so we will begin by observing, interacting with our new children and communicating with them so as to learn what they are interested in and how best to meet all their needs.
So many skills can be developed through play!
Will play always look the same?……..probably not……….will it evolve?………..most definitely………..will we make mistakes?………..yes because that is our evidence that we are trying……….will we learn from our mistakes?
Well you’ll have to come back next year and find out………learning = infinite possibilities!
At my school children will learn how to be responsible global citizens, how to think creatively and critically, how to communicate and work collaboratively, a school that fosters imagination and innovation.