Play Based Learning

Exploring, Discovering and Learning Through Play

Play is

  • creating
  • fun
  • taking perspectives
  • reforming ideas
  • discovering something new
  • being in control
  • imaging what might be
  • pretending
  • socializing
  • making choices
  • reading and writing
  • understanding the natural world
  • using what we know
  • learning

-"Playing is Learning" ETFO

What Play Based Learning?

It has long been known that there is a strong link between play and learning. Children are full of natural curiosity and they explore this curiosity through play. When kids are playing, it's the perfect time to learn.

Play teaches kids how to problem solve, how to make friends, how to express themselves, how to enjoy the world around them, and how to recognize letters and numbers. All of these skills form the foundation of a love of learning.

In the full-day kindergarten program, teachers and early childhood educators structure play to create learning moments. While children play, they’ll chat with their friends, and figure out how to stop their block tower from falling. They'll draw pictures and role play. And they'll tell stories, and sit quietly to listen to others. All of these activities help kids develop, learn, and eventually acquire the skills that they will need in grade one and beyond.


Ontario Kindergarten Curriculum

“Play is not only our creative drive; it’s a fundamental mode of learning.” ~ David Elkind (psychologist, author)

The Role of Care Givers in Play Based Learning

Learning does not begin when the child walks in the classroom, nor does it end when they leave. You, as care givers, have a vital role to play in the education of your child. Here are some ways that you can use play as learning at home:

  • singing and dancing with your child

  • counting: number of stairs to bed, number of plates for everyone at dinner, number of steps to the end of the yard

  • playing tag, hide'n'seek, going for a walk,

  • involving your child in packing healthy snacks for his/her day

  • encouraging them to eat new foods: asking questions like 'What does it feel/smell/taste like?

  • make reading to your child part of your regular daily routine: signs, labels, poems, a variety of books, both story books and non-fiction

  • tell each other stories and have lots of conversations

  • visiting places around your community: libraries, parks, community centres, places of worship, businesses

How will I know how my child is learning in Kindergarten?

There are a number of ways that the teacher and Early Childhood Educator can assess your child's social and cognitive development throughout the year. They may use

  • photos with caption (sometimes written or dictated by child) that show successes in the classroom
  • written communication logs that outline your child's learning for the day or week
  • portfolios of your child's work: written work, art, photos of creations