Learning Through Play

Supporting the Early Years Learning Framework

Anne Kennedy and Lennie Barblett

The Early Years Learning Framework defines play-based learning as:

A context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations

(DEEWR, 2009, p. 46).

This definition links with the notions of belonging, being and becoming which are underpinning motifs in the EYLF. One of the most important ways children make sense of their social worlds is through playing with others. Social play helps children to develop a sense of belonging in a group as they interact with others and learn how to negotiate rules for positive social interactions. The development of a positive sense of self is promoted through early play experiences because there are no wrong or right ways to do things. This freedom from rules helps children to feel confident and competent as learners and teachers of others (Learning Outcomes 1 and 4).

Being affirms children’s right to play and to enjoy their childhoods without the pressure of conforming to narrow goals for learning which have been predetermined by adults.

When educators respect children’s being, they focus on children’s lives in the here and now and support children’s understanding of their uniqueness and worth as individuals and contributors in the groups where they belong. Play provides opportunities for children to learn about themselves (their being) and others (Learning Outcomes 1, 2 and 4).

As children develop, the values, knowledge and skills they gain provide the foundations for the next phase. In this sense, children are both being and becoming at the same time. Children who have had stories told or read to them from infancy, and who are encouraged to engage with stories in books and through social play for example, are being literate as they pretend to read a book to a teddy. At the same time they are learning foundational skills and knowledge about how books and stories work which helps them to become literate in the formal sense when they read the words in books.

6:30 Centre Opens Children arrive and unpack bags
Quiet Indoor Activities Manipulatives, puzzles and books, playdough, drawing, writing
7:30 Breakfast For children as required
7:45 Pack-away time Children help pack away. Sunscreen, hats
8:00 Outdoor Activities Self-selected from planned activities
9:00 Morning Tea Starfish gather and eat in the Starfish room
9:30 – 10:30 Starfish inside – Programmed experiences intentional and spontaneous teaching, group activities, music and movement, & nappy changing
10:30 – 11:30 Starfish Outside/ Verandah Self-selected from planned activities, and also group activities.
11:30 Starfish inside- Lunch Lunch, swish, swash, swallow, room preparation for rest, toileting.
12:00 Rest time/Sleep time, Nappy changing Relaxation music, Children rest on beds or sleep. Non sleepers enjoy quiet activities at tables.
12:30 – 1:00 Non-sleepers outside with the Dolphins Free choice play
1:00 – 1:30 Rest and Relaxation time in the Starfish room Yoga, Rest, Meditation, Stories, Quiet activities
1:30 – 2:00 Whales room Stories, Focus on Phonics, Electronic Whiteboard
2:00 – 2:30 Afternoon Tea In the Starfish room
2:30 – 3:00 Outside free play Nappy Changing beginning
3:00 – 5:00 Starfish awaken
Afternoon tea for sleepers
Nappy Changing and beds wiped down.
Free activities for all children in the Starfish room/outside. Children put on shoes
5:00 – 6:30 Late afternoon tea
Nappy Changing
Inside play, unstructured play, quiet activities
6:30 Centre Opens Children arrive and unpack bags
Quiet indoor activities Manipulatives, puzzles and books, playdough,clay, drawing, writing, painting, small group board games
7:30 Breakfast For children as required
7:45 Pack away time Children help pack away, sunscreen, hats
8:00 Outdoor activities Self-selected from planned activities
9:00 Morning tea Whales room
9:30 Programmed experiences-Intentional and spontaneous teaching School readiness-Yarnin circles
Language/Literacy/Numeracy
Dramatic play
Researching topics of interest
10:30 – 11:30 Whales Room Art/craft/table activities
Puzzles/playdough/manipulatives
Small group cognitive games and activities
11:30 – 12:00 Whales Room Music and movement
CD’s, partner dances aerobics, ribbons,
active games, Munch and Move, Yoga, etc.
12:00 – 12:30 Lunch Whales room
12:30 – 1:00 Rest and Relaxation time
Phonics groups
Focus on phonics. Electronic whiteboard, Yoga, Meditation Stories
1:00 – 2:00 Whales outside
Free choice play
Dolphins inside
Programmed experiences-Intentional and spontaneous teaching
2:00 – 2:30 Afternoon tea Combined
2:30 – 3:30 Whales and Dolphins indoors Sensory experiences
Cognitive experiences, fine motor skills, small groups, language and literacy, dramatic play
3:30 – 4:00 Pack away time
Whales and Dolphins room closed
Children help to tidy, put shoes on, pack bags and lockers
4:00 – 5:00 Unstructured free play Bikes, sand pit, outdoor gym
5:00 – 6:30 Late afternoon tea Quiet activities, books, puzzles, play dough, manipulatives, etc.