Want to learn more about Play-Based philosophy? Read on:
What are the defining characteristics of a Play-Based program?
A Play-Based classroom is one that is intentionally constructed to allow for open-ended play opportunities. It will usually be organized into different learning centers like dramatic play, art, math and manipulatives, science, blocks, and reading, but that doesn’t mean that those are the only skills being addressed in each center. The learning centers are organized to allow for a variety of skills to develop at each (for example, the play kitchen may also include pencils and paper for kids to make grocery lists and “write” recipes).
What is different about how Play-Based teachers approach their work?
- Teacher balances time spent between whole-group activities, small-group activities, and child-led free play
- Teacher spends time observing children to determine how to expand on their interest and deepen their learning by asking questions & introducing new materials
- Play-based curriculum sometimes follows a theme approach
- Upon first glance it might appear that the children are “just playing,” but there is ample research showing play is how children learn best (for example, when building with blocks children are learning spatial awareness, cause and effect, small and large motor skills, turn-taking, cooperation, increased attention span, and confidence)
- Teachers come from any number of backgrounds and may go through a variety of trainings, certifications, or degree programs