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::: our play based learning philosophy revisited


It is in our motto “no play, no learning – know play, know learning” that our play based philosophy is built.

While we girls no longer teach kindergarten together we still have a very strong philosophy when it comes to children having the opportunity every day to learn through their play. We get a lot of emails and Facebook messages from parents, tertiary students and educators asking us to share our philosophy on what  ”play based learning” means to us.

Of course every persons true philosophy is unique to themselves but for those who find it hard to express their beliefs to parents, or even co-educators, who may be struggling with the whole idea of putting PLAY-BEFORE-LEARNING, we thought we would share with you once again a post we published a while back on our play based learning philosophy.

::: REPOSTED from April 6th 2011

As we start to branch out talking to a wide range of early years educators and university students, we are amazed at the differing views on what play based learning actually is!

As a summation, our thoughts on play based learning is that it is teaching the children as they like to learn – through play.

Play based learning does not mean that the children just do what they like all day. There will be times when the children come together as a group where they will learn to listen to each other, share information, follow rules and partake in group activities. Play based activities don’t replace intentional teaching, rather complement and enhance it!

In a play based learning setting children will be provided with long periods of uninterrupted play time. They will have the opportunity to follow their own interests. They are encouraged to initiate activities and be self directed with the support of their teachers. They learn to take ownership of their work. They will be gently moulded into independent children with initiative and the confidence to take risks, knowing that there is no right or wrong way.

Open ended play based learning focuses on the process not the product. It is the learning that is taking place that is the all important factor.

Many teachers, as we did, are now choosing to run indoor/outdoor programs and free snack times to enable and enhance the long stretches of uninterrupted play times. This of course is not always possible as the actual physical setup of the centre may not be conducive to it.

When you visit our Education Directory you will discover early childhood settings which reflect this philosophy.


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10 Responses to “our play based learning philosophy revisited”


  1. I love watching my children play. They can be so imaginative with the simplest of items, like a cardboard box. Add some paint, holes and pipe cleaners and you have a robot head or a vehicle. Even watching some older children sit down with leggo and how they methodically add bits and pieces to create buildings or space age vehicles. I really love your motto because play and learning really do compliment each other.

  2. avatar Renee says:

    I’m in love with the ideas you’re sharing here – I am educator in the senior years and am all too aware of the ways that traditional education kills creativity and joy. Thank you for all your wonderful inspiration :)


  3. A noble endeavour indeed! Learning is true education than just bookish knowledge and time and again it has been proved that being wise is much more important that being just educated! Please keep up with the good work, interesting articles and some great insights into your work!

    Sarah, http://www.beetroot.in

  4. avatar Krystal says:

    Play can take a child (and adult) on so many magical learning journeys. You never know what you will encounter along the way.

  5. avatar Lissa Hunt says:

    I dream of opening my own program someday and when I stumbled across your site I teared up. It was like seeing all my ideas in real life. So many people do not understand play based and when you work in a place like I do there are so many rules that prevent me from creating a wonderful learning environment such as you have. I am so excited to see there are other early childhood educators that understand how children learn and what they need to learn and grow. I hope that one day when I start my program it can be as great as yours!!


  6. Sherry and Donna, we’ve always loved how your learning ethos focuses on skills based, open ended play experiences! Some news: really excited to be returning to an early years environment after four years further up the ladder! Can’t wait :) And a brand new school building being constructed in time for next January too! Just wish we could attend Marc’s workshops, will be stopping by lots next year for more inspiration. :)

  7. avatar admin says:

    I am working hard on getting Marc back to the UK on tour in 2015 Caroline … I hope to see you there if I do! – Donna ;)

  8. avatar admin says:

    Thanks Lissa! – Donna

  9. avatar Melody says:

    Sherry and Donna,
    I’m a huge fan of your work! Just wanted to let you know that your Education Directory link seems to be broken? It keeps redirecting me to a 404-Error page!

    High Melody … Thanks four getting in touch. We have actually removed the Education Directory page as nothing has been added to it in three years and we were made aware that some of the settings and school we showcased on there are no longer running the same kinds of programs they were when we featured them. :(
    ~ Donna

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