Playful learning, what the KG teachers took away from their Project Zero Course
Playful learning stretches student’s imaginations, supports their capabilities and enriches their experiences. That’s the essence of the Project Zero Course that some of the KG teachers recently participated in.
By Lourine Ikink-Karanja, classroom teacher KG Red
Playful learning is more than a game and more than a very good curriculum. It is about creating a culture where teachers, as well as students can be in a playful mindset! The Project Zero course introduced us to some of the core principles and practices of playful learning. Apart from exploring what play looks and feels like, we looked at how a shared understanding of learning through play can enhance a learning experience and how we can create conditions in which playful learning can thrive.
We created our own ISUtrecht indicators of playful learning by identifying three core indicators: Ownership, Curiosity, and Engagement, which we believe fit the language of our school. We believe that when these three core indicators are in action, playful learning will possibly occur.
Knowledge is nothing without action!
After weeks of gaining knowledge and understanding, we applied what we had learnt in class. We started using the indicators to inform our planning and evaluate the playful learning that took place after a learning experience.
Ms Charlotte Smith, classroom teacher of KG Purple says: ‘While free play is a natural part of the KG classroom, this course offered a valuable opportunity for myself and Ms Anita Musa to consider how we could strategically use play to enrich student’s ownership, curiosity and engagement for more traditionally ‘academic’ learning’.
‘Who sank the boat?’
By using ISUtrecht’s playful learning indicators when designing learning experiences, Ms Smith and Ms Musa have been able to support their students to take more risks and therefore extend themselves in their learning. For example, they’ve been exploring weight as part of our integrated mathematics unit. ‘The class read the story “Who Sank the Boat?” by Pamela Allen, and used this as a spark to play and make our own boats’, relates Ms Smith. ‘The students explored the mathematical concepts of ‘heavy’ and ‘light’ by seeing how heavy their boats could become before they sunk. Our students showed intrinsic motivation and collaboration, with a lot of silliness and water splashes’!
Playful learning provides room for curiosity and imagination. In kindergarten, we continue to create a culture where playful learning thrives.