What is Play-Based Learning?

This September 35,000 Ontario Kindergarteners are testing out a new play-based learning curriculum. Play-based learning is no longer a fun idea to consider, it may be a reality for Ontario parents with young children. Do I have your attention now?

Through history and research, it's become clear that allowing children the freedom to play will only help them achieve academic success.

There has been a push in recent years for kids to understand mathematics and reading at younger and younger ages. We see this especially in the US, where kindergartners are receiving homework every night. The results? Children become frustrated and shut-down when you shove academics down their tiny little throats. They hate it, and as a result they resent learning.

Experts are now attempting to forge a new way of learning. Something that actually works, and gets kids to enjoy learning. The result is implementing a play-based learning curriculum.

There is a great post that captures exactly what play-based learning is, called The Therapeutic Process of Play. In summary, allowing children to play both at home and in school helps them to work through different emotions and encourages self-regulation of these feelings.

Resources For More Information:
Play At Home Mom LLC
The New Play-Based Learning Curriculum Explained
Want To Get Your Kids Into College? Let Them Play
EQ over IQ: play-based learning and success

What are your thoughts on play-based learning?


  1. This I exciting to learn! I read through the thereputic process of play link, and it sounds to me an awful lot like what I got to experience as a young child. I went to kindergarten in Calgary, it was called ECS and it was heavily based on play learning. I look back on my experience at such a young age with happy memories and can recall the feelings of validation that I had from being able to express myself and "teach" the adults in the classroom what I was doing. I really hope that Ontario continues towards such play based schooling for young children so that when ours are of age they are able to enjoy the beginning processes o the school based learning system!

  2. I think it's an interesting idea but I'm not completely sold on the Canadian model. I teach Kindergarten in an international school abroad, where kids come full-day and we definitely do some play-based learning in my room, but we also have sit-down work time (though realistically, they're mostly drawing at this point!) From what I understand (I have friends who have done teaching placements in PBL classes), the Ontario model is fairly unstructured - children can choose to participate in "formal lessons" but really, there's no "plan" for the day - it's student directed learning. Is this great? Of course. But I think that children need structure, they need routine, and they need to learn how to behave in school and that it's not completely play.

    1. Thanks for your comment, I did not realize that this was the case. I would also like a structured enviornment for my child to learn in. This is why I like the montessori model (they value both structure and freedom). Thanks for your input!


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