The best aspect about play way method of teaching, is that it helps in building a lasting connection between the child and the environment he or she is in, be it home, nature or the classroom.
Since the child finds the surroundings to be the best teacher, it becomes absolutely important that the parent, teacher or caregiver provides for adequate opportunities to learn, through thoughtful design and presentation of environment for play.
In this article:
- Play way method of teaching – An introduction
- Recommendations for an effective play based learning environment
- Two teaching strategies for play based learning activities
In today’s fast-paced technology driven world of education, the teaching methods in classroom seems to have taken a turn towards artificial intelligence (AI).
Though it is debatable if this change can indeed bring out the best of skills in children during their early years, the importance of the concept and meaning of play in early childhood education has always occupied an important place in the formal system of education, where age is not a criterion.
Play Way Method of Teaching – An Introduction
While there are many approaches for imparting learning in children, the play way method is the earliest one, and by far the most effective of all methods, especially because it has the ability to stimulate all the faculties of development in a child.
The main objective of the play way method of teaching is to allow the child to be able to drive his or her own learning, by participating in activities that are pre-designed, creative and highly engaging. The activities allow the child to think consciously, analyse reasons, and make use of the cognitive faculties in a manner that he or she relates to best.
The play way method comprising specific activities can be used to promote strong foundations for numeracy and literacy, which are the 2 two important building blocks to learning, therefore facilitating acquisition of knowledge in early years.
During early years, play encourages the child to be active, and engage in activities that aid an easy assimilation of the concepts. The friendly and non-threatening atmosphere that play creates is highly conducive for learning, which allows the child to perceive things and situations from multiple perspectives.
Play is by far the best activity that allows a child to get ample opportunities to express his or her thoughts and ideas, which facilitates in fostering creativity. Most of all, the creativity that is fostered helps the child to approach problem situations with a creative frame of mind, explore all possible outcomes, and figure out the best solution.
While it is a fact that the play way method of teaching is highly effective to impart learning in a child, it is important to remember that the effectiveness depends on the skills that a teacher has acquired and demonstrate them in the classroom.
A well-planned play activity can not only help bring out the child’s cognitive skills, it can also cater to the development of other areas like social-emotional and moral development, among others.
The benefits of play way method are a plenty. It promises to allow the learning process be enjoyable and learner paced. Through the process of acquiring knowledge, the method also aids in development of complex cognitive skills, motor skills, communication skills, etc.
What makes the method truly effective, is that it helps for the child to retain the learning for a long period of time, therefore making it possible to assimilate various aspects of what is learnt.
3 Key Recommendations for an Effective Play Based Learning Environment
The Toronto District School Board, Canada, lays large emphasis on play-learning environments, and therefore recommends the following to create a play-based learning environment:
- Learning environments need to meet the needs of the 3 major domains of development in a child, the physical, psycho-social and cognitive. Having said, an excessively challenging or an environment that is too dull can hinder the child’s learning experiences.
- Since the learning environment plays an important role, not only should it be appealing and stimulating, adequate efforts should be taken to provide ample learning experiences. Not only the curriculum, but even the design of the learning space should be such, that it should allow and encourage maximum participation of children during play based learning activities.
- Families, administrators and caregivers need to form an active part in the design process, as each individual brings a new value to the teaching and learning process.
Two Teaching Strategies for Play Based Learning Activities
The development of components of numeracy and literacy skills are best indicators of learning a child has acquired.
Therefore, the educator need to first have a clear understanding about what is to be delivered – well before the process of planning for delivery in the classroom (execution of the plan) happens.
This should be followed with having an understanding about choosing the best medium and method to deliver what is to be taught, all while keeping in mind the existing knowledge, age, and abilities of the learning group (learners’ profile).
The educator may consider adopting what is called the Inductive Method or the Deductive Method to impart learning.
a) Inductive Method
Inductive method of teaching or imparting learning is predominantly activity-centered, and encompasses a range of methods including inquiry learning, problem-based learning, discovery learning, project-based learning and just-in-time teaching, among others.
Adopting the inductive method, the teacher can use the same set of activities to teach the group about various other concepts.
b) Deductive Method
Deductive learning is a more of an instructor-centered approach to teaching or imparting learning, in which the concepts and generalisations are introduced to the learners – to begin with. This is followed by specific examples related to the concepts and activities to support learning.
In this method, a facilitator can list multiple resources that can be used to execute the same activity across various occasions.
Teachers are considered as children’s gateway to knowledge and learning. It therefore becomes important that they have clear definitions and understanding about literacy and numeracy, and its relationship with other aspects of education as a whole.
Only then will they be able to facilitate children to transition between the different areas of knowledge, and enable the child to build connections with what he/she assimilates from everyday learning.
The first and the most fundamental step to ensure learning happens in a child, is to be able to clearly define the approach to be adopted to impart learning. Additionally, it becomes important to consider the age of the learners, so as to develop and design age-appropriate activities to facilitate learning.
Most of all, for the play way method of teaching to be effective, the teacher or facilitator should have a curious mind and the ability to think-on-the-feet, which together help to provide a variety of experiences for children to learn from.