Play-Based Learning in Kindergarten
In a play-based learning environment, we view children as competent learners, capable of complex thinking, curious and full of potential. Play-based learning builds on the varied experiences of each child.
In Kindergarten, children have the opportunity to learn by:
- exploring ideas and language
- manipulating objects
- experimenting with a variety of open-ended materials
- acting out roles
These experiences expand each child’s natural creativity, inquiry, and imagination. They develop:
- abstract reasoning
- critical thinking
- communication skills
As children and educators engage in play-based learning together, the foundations of early literacy and mathematics are built. Educators observe, listen, question and guide children to promote their growth as independent learners.
For more information, please review the Kindergarten Program Brochure.
The Educator Team
Kindergarten programs have an educator team comprised of a teacher and an early childhood educator. The team of educators have the benefit of a collaborative and reflective partnership. Educator team members have complementary skills that enable them to create a nurturing and stimulating learning environment that supports the unique needs of each child (Kindergarten Program, 2016).
Four Frames for Learning
In Kindergarten, the learning expectations are organized into four “frames”, or broad areas of learning: Belonging and Contributing, Self-Regulation and Well-Being, Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours, and Problem Solving and Innovating.
Belonging and Contributing focuses on children’s:
- sense of connectedness to others
- ability to form relationships and make contributions as part of a group, a community, and the natural world
- developing understanding of how people relate to one another and to the world around them
What children learn within this frame provides them with a sense of being personally connected to various groups and communities. This learning lays the foundation for developing the traits and attitudes required for responsible citizenship.
Self-Regulation and Well-Being focuses on children’s:
- ability to understand their own thoughts and feelings, to see that others may have different thoughts and feelings, and to respect those differences
- ability to understand and manage their emotions and impulses, find ways to deal with distractions, and be aware that their actions have consequences
- awareness of their physical and mental health and wellness
What children learn through this frame allows them to focus, to learn, to respect themselves and others. This learning promotes well-being in themselves and others.
Demonstrating Literacy and Mathematics Behaviours focuses on children’s:
- ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings in various ways, using their bodies, words, symbols, images, constructions, and/or other forms of expression
- “literacy behaviours” - the various ways in which children use language, images, and materials to express ideas and emotions as they respond to words and stories, begin to think critically, and begin to read and write
- “mathematics behaviours” - the various ways in which children use concepts of number and pattern during play and inquiry; process various kinds of information; and begin to grasp mathematical relationships, concepts, skills, and processes
- curiosity about literacy and mathematics and love of learning in general, as they develop the habit of learning for life
What children learn in connection with this frame develops their capacity to think critically, to understand and respect many different perspectives, and to process various kinds of information.
Problem Solving and Innovating focuses on children’s:
- desire to explore the world out of natural curiosity, which develops their minds, their senses, and their bodies
- desire to make meaning of their world by asking questions, testing theories, solving problems, and using creative and analytical thinking
- confidence to explore the innovative thoughts and activities that naturally arise with an active curiosity, and to apply those ideas as they interact with others and with the world
What children learn in connection with this frame will help them develop the habit of applying creative, analytical, and critical-thinking skills in all aspects of their lives.
You are an expert on your child and an important part of your child’s education. Your participation in your child’s learning in Kindergarten is welcome.
You may consider:
- Sharing your child’s unique strengths, interests, learning preferences and any other relevant information as your child changes and grows throughout the year.
- Exploring your child’s classroom learning experiences through conversations together at home.
- Participating in family classroom learning opportunities and sharing your reflections with your child’s educators.
- Sharing learning from home with your child’s educators (e.g., conversations, drawings, creations, games, play, photos, video clips, etc.).
You can discuss with your child’s educators additional ways to be an active partner in your child’s learning throughout the year.
Kindergarten is for All Children
Educators consider each child’s:
- background and lived experiences
- linguistic strengths
- stage of additional language acquisition
- stage of development
- special education needs
For children with special education needs, entry to school is more complex. School and regional teams that can support children include:
- Kindergarten educators,
- School administrators(s)
- Special education resource teachers (SERTS)
- Speech-language pathologists
- Physical therapists/Occupational therapists
- Autism Services
- Early Intervention Services
Principals and educators are responsible for working with parents and caregivers to support children with special education needs in experiencing the smoothest transition to school. Families, educators and community partners work together to ensure all children experience success in Kindergarten.