Play Based Learning
Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how a child can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally, and gain the self-confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments. Our Junior Primary classes engage in structured and unstructured play at various times of the day. Some sessions are student lead while others are supported by the teachers. Our focus is to spark children’s natural curiosity and desire to engage in experiences based on their interests, strengths and developing skills. Playing helps the children’s brains to develop and for their language and communication skills to mature, and helps with problem-solving. Sessions can also vary in ages sharing across the JP year levels. Play can occur indoors or outdoors, using equipment or through imagination.
Current research clearly shows that natural environments and outdoor play are beneficial to children in many ways. Playing outdoors is important for developing capacities for creativity, symbolic play, problem solving and intellectual development. Outdoor play has clear physical benefits for developing children including helping children to acquire gross motor skills, eye-hand coordination and helping to prevent obesity.
Sensory stimulation derived from interacting with natural environments allows children to learn with all of their senses. These senses include seeing, hearing, touching and smelling. It is well known that physical activity is beneficial for children in many ways. Research shows that children who have trouble concentrating benefit from playing outdoors, as after playing outdoors these children are better able to concentrate on tasks. Natural environments give staff members opportunities to teach children about caring for the world in which we live. Seeing plants grow and change throughout the year helps children to understand and learn more about nature.
An important part of the early childhood curriculum is learning through ‘play’ sometimes referred to as ‘activity’. Play is a child centred methodology which integrates all learning areas, particularly literacy and numeracy and is implemented in all junior primary classrooms here at the Hub Primary School. Through Play, the child has opportunities to experiment, explore, problem solve and make decisions about their own learning. They have opportunities for imaginative play, collaborative group work and a chance to work with a wide range of materials. Plenty of time to talk and interact with other children is another key feature of the Play Program.
At the beginning of each year R-3 classes are buddied up with the middle to upper primary classes. Time is takes to support student matchings to compliment interests, learning and personalities. During the year, pairs of classes (buddies) learn and work together in a variety of activities – such as literacy, cooking, technology, dance, drama and joining together for lunch, picnics and excursions. This is very important in developing an inclusive school community. Most junior primary students look to their buddies when in the yard or if they need support in managing friendship issues.
Literacy Intervention Session
This is a multi-sensory and structured program designed for Year 1 and 2 students who are ‘at risk’ of meeting the expected literacy achievement standard in class.
The program is designed in consultation with the classroom teacher, school support officers and leadership to ensure the individual needs of students are met. Students are given intensive small group tuition for two-three sessions per week over a period of 10-12 weeks with a review process. Through this intervention program students gain confidence and increase their self-esteem. They reinforce skills and strategies in phonological awareness, handwriting, reading, comprehension and writing.
Every week, the Junior Primary classes attend ‘JP Sing’ for an half hour of singing, movement, dance and games. Students experience the joy of being part of a large ensemble and begin to learn about audience manners, performance skills and basic choral techniques. They have the opportunity to showcase their learning to each other and they perform at our school assemblies during the year.
JP Significant Day Celebrations
All JP classes join together to celebrate significant event of the calendar. These include Harmony Day, International Mud Day, Healthy Food Day, Cleanup Australia Day, Assemblies, National Simultaneous Story Day, R-2 Family Picnics (Term 1) Christmas Craft celebrations.
Reception Transition Visits
Families are supported as they prepare their children to commence schooling with confidence and enthusiasm. Our transition program allows children to adjust gently prior to beginning school at the Hub Primary. Our program includes two 2 hour sessions and then 1 half day sessions over a three week period.
The transition to school program may include:
- regular visits to the school over a period of weeks
- walks around the school grounds to find out where things are, ie the toilets and playground
- spending time in a classroom with a teacher and other students
- going to school events such as assembly, library visits, or performances
- opportunities to develop relationships with other children and teachers.
- Reverse transition when the teachers visit the kindy students at their setting.