Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Playfully Learning

The topic of play-based learning is causing great discussion in our school district.
And a colleague of mine told me about an article she read (sorry I don't have a link to it) that helped her understand it better.  The author referred to play-based learning as playfully learning, where the teachers sets out materials to invite children to explore and play and child directed play where the child uses those materials for his own ideas.

The following is what I observed at our centre one morning this week.

My husband modified an old wooden kitchen table for me so we can use it for a sensory/sorting table.  
This week I filled the two tubs with coloured plastic eggs and set coloured baskets in the middle.

At first the children were just interested in opening all the eggs.

Once the eggs were all emptied the children continued to play, a bit of sorting and then the idea to have an egg hunt.  Where would they hide them?  Would we be finding eggs for weeks?  Just today I found a little frying pan that went missing at the beginning of March (it was tucked into the art shelf).
I needn't of worried because as fast they hid them they pulled them out again.

But then the play changed focus and one of the little boys went over to our sensory table where he remembered seeing egg cups.  I gave him some extra ones and  followed him back into the second room.
 He went to the play kitchen.  His mom tells me that he wants to boil the eggs.
So she guides him through the steps.  Fill the pot with water.  Put it on the stove.  Make some toast. Set the table.

 Look how he cracks  the egg open, I think he has done this before.
I appreciated the change that took place from playfully sorting and opening of the eggs to more real life, self-directed, "let me do what I want with the eggs" play.

Let's Do It Together

Today at the art table I set a book, paper, pencils and scissors.

The book is by Leo Lionni called "Let's Make Rabbits".

I like the idea in this book of two things making the same thing but in a different way.
The pencil draws a rabbit and the scissors cut out a rabbit.

It was a good art project for partnership.
It was a good project for talking about body parts.
It was a good project for scissor skills.
It was a good project.