St Mary's Blenheim

St Mary's Blenheim

At St Mary’s School Year 0-4 teachers implement a learning through play approach in their classrooms.


Why Learning Through Play?

Research shows that children learn best through play. Learning through play allows for social, emotional, and cognitive development at a rate that is appropriate for the child. Play promotes creativity, imagination, initiative, responsible risk taking, resilience and communication skills.

In a play based classroom the children’s learning is based on their interests and developmental stages. Research shows that when we are curious, we learn more and we remember what we have learned. 


What is Play?

According to (Gray, 2013; Brewer, 2007) play needs to be;

  1. self-chosen and self-directed;

  2. process rather than product driven;

  3. contains structures or rules established by the players themselves;

  4. imaginative, non-literal and removed from reality;

  5. occurs between those who are active, alert and non-stressed. 

In a learning through play classroom there are lots of discussions between students, creating through the use of loose parts, thinking, reflecting and modifying. Children are engaged as they are driving their own learning.


Role of the Teacher

In a learning through play classroom the teacher’s role is vital as the teacher: 

  • Provides an environment that allows children to develop and pursue their interests. 

  • Observes the play and has conversations with the children. This enables the teacher to set up provocations for children to further develop their interests and skills.

  • Makes links to the curriculum to recognise the learning within the play.

  • Gives coaching statements and answers questions which take the learning to a higher level.

  • Provides reflection time for the children to make connections to the Beatitudes, NZ Curriculum and Key Competencies.

  • Provides direct teaching in Reading, Writing and Mathematics at a pace that is developmentally appropriate for the child.