Playing to Learn
It’s happens so naturally with children.
Many of us have been at some appointment and watched as a parent has tried in desperation to keep their child from turning the chair/bench into some sort of object for play in the hope of keeping them quiet.
A rock. A stick. A feather. A discarded bag. Almost any item a child finds can be turned into an imaginary object. An open stretch of sidewalk or a bench becomes a new world or a favourite place. It doesn’t seem to matter what’s around, children can turn almost anything and anywhere into play. Imagination leads them off to discover and explore, invent and create. All without leaving the backyard or the appointment chair.
Although we understand more today about the importance of play and it’s effect on learning and development, unstructured play is still viewed by many as a recess activity, limited to Kindergarten classes and doesn’t really have a place in the classroom. So, as we often do during #saskedchat, we explored the Plahying to Learn and it’s importance for all students.
Playing to Learn
Our last #saskedchat was a great exploration of Playing to Learn! Suggested by @kfidelack, participants eagerly shared their thoughts and ideas about the importance of play for learning, not just for younger children but for all students.
Play can have a variety of different meanings depending on the situation and context. In schools, a great deal of the play in classrooms is structured, meaning that the teacher has outlined what is going to happen and what is involved. This type of play can include various types of games connected to learning activities using a variety of technologies, from such things like traditional BINGO and scavenger hunts to QR codes, Kahoots and Quizlets.
Gamification – the use of game design elements in creating learning experiences, continues to grow and develop in education as more teachers look for ways to engage students in learning through using different design elements in lessons and units.
Each of these different uses of play is structure play – guided by the teacher who has varying level of control. Play is part of the learning experience as planned by the teacher.
Unstructured play, play not guided by the teacher or adults and not usually related to a game with standardized rules, often takes place at recess or, in some early learning and kindergargen classrooms, a part of the learning day. During this time, students are provided with time to play with other students or by themselves. This type of play provides children the opportunity to create and imagine, to explore and innovate.
During #saskedchat, participants explored the necessity for students at all grades levels to have time to play while learning. Many participants shared how they include different forms of structured and unstructured play, the benefits for students of including play, and different options for organizing play in the classroom. Participants had some great ideas about using play and how it affects student growth and development.
These are some of the participant comments.
Check out the archive from #saskedchat.