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Play-Based Learning for 0-4 Year Olds in Brisbane

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This story is brought to you by C&K, a not-for-profit organisation operating childcare and kindergartens across Queensland. After first opening its doors in 1907, it not has more than 350 centres. Click here to find your nearest centre or call 1800 177 092. 

Play-based learning is perfect for 0-4 year olds in Brisbane

The Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) stipulates that play-based learning is ‘a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they actively engage with people, objects and representations’.

Children who are immersed in play-based learning environments are supported by educators who pair literacy, numeracy and social skill development with fun. These carefully crafted programs look to place the child at the centre of the educational experience where they can learn through engagement in enjoyable activities. This type of learning presents education through a lens that allows children to understand concepts and acquire knowledge in the language they understand best – play.

play-based learning nature play

How does play-based learning operate?

Children are, by nature, born curious. The world around them is a constant source of wonder and excitement. Consider how entranced a small child will become by gum nuts, leaves and tree bark. Simple items found in nature that adults overlook are often home to a world of imaginative and creative possibilities.

Play-based learning in action will see children happily involved in natural environments where they are engaged with elements like water, mud and sand. It is in this outdoor classroom setting that they are exposed to limitless opportunities for growth – social, emotional, cognitive, creative and physical. Every leaf, every rock and every branch is a rung on a ladder that leads to the development of confidence, communication and compassion.

play-based learning making damper

Is play-based learning structured?

To put it simply – it isn’t. Play-based learning asks educators to step away from the compulsion to strictly plan lessons and learning experiences. It instead allows children the autonomy and independence to guide their own learning experiences to tap into individual areas of interest.

In a practical sense, this may mean that a conversation between a child and an educator about a plant would lead to watering, tending to a garden, choosing seeds and planting flowers. The rich experience that comes as a result of the child leading the way, instead of following a lesson plan, means that learning takes place in context.

Unstructured play-based learning in a natural setting provides scope for children to engage in healthy risk taking, problem solving and imagining. It also means that their health and general wellbeing is catered for as they are outdoors and immersed in physical activity.

Does play-based learning involve technology?

Many people in our society have, unfortunately, become passive users of technology. It is the goal of play-based learning to encourage children to become creators instead of consumers of technology. If it is used with purpose in order to create and investigate, then children can appropriately engage with technology to question and problem solve.

Where can I find play-based learning for my child in Queensland?

C&K is a not-for-profit organisation that has been offering rich and varied learning experiences for Brisbane children since 1907. Play-based learning is a big focus for their programs. Babies, toddlers and children to the age of 5 are engaged, entranced and excited by learning, which gives them a great start on their lifelong learning journey.

You can find C&K online to locate your nearest centre or call their office on 1800 177 092.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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