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A play-based curriculum is centered on learning through hands-on, interest based activities. Children engage in play scenarios as dictated by their interests and the adult encourages their natural curiosity by guiding, scaffolding, and providing opportunities to extend knowledge in learning opportunities within the play scenario. It is not worksheets, rigorous learning drills, or forced rote memory, rather naturally including concepts in daily play. Pushing learning too much can cause children to lose interest, shy away from educational environments and decrease self-esteem. Therefore, to say we are a play-based curriculum does not mean we are not an academic program. The main focus is instead on social emotional development and problem solving, which increase critical thinking, questioning and reasoning skills. In this model, the adult is more of a facilitator of learning rather than lecturer or provider of knowledge. In a play-based curriculum, your child will be learning in a way that will help them to retain the knowledge and truly understand and apply content rather than rote restating of ideas without understanding their meaning. In essence, play-based curriculum is aimed at preparing children for life, and the complex thinking and reasoning needed for their future.

For further reading:

10 Things Every Parent Should Know About Play

A Conversation with Dr. Allison Gopnik (The Value of Play)

The Case of Brain Science and Guided Play

Does Play Make a Difference? How Play Intervention Affects the Vocabulary Learning of At-Risk Preschoolers

Playing around in School: Implications for Learning and Educational Policy

Making the Case for Play Policy: Research-Based Reasons to Support Play-Based Environments

The double-edged sword of pedagogy: Instruction limits spontaneous exploration and discovery

Written by Allison Horne

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