What is Play-based Pedagogy?
Play-based pedagogy describes an approach where the teacher recognizes that children learn through an active, hands-on, playful environment. In a play-based classroom, the teacher makes decisions about, and adjusts, the daily schedule, environment, materials, interactions and activities based upon the strengths, needs, interests, and input of the students to enhance learning opportunities. (Common Understandings – Play-based Pedagogy, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, page 35).
As active children, Grade 1 students enthusiastically explore the world around them through play-based learning. For the young students playing is an effective provocation, one which stimulates their thinking skills in connection to their unit of inquiry.
Under the theme ‘How the World Works’, Grade 1 students had the opportunity to play several games to engage their knowledge about the impact of forces on everyday life. We joined two classes to play frisbee, bowling, javelin, soccer and tug of war. During the games, the students observed important information. We found out that the games had different rules and procedures. We also observed how the objects that we used moved, and identified differences between the weight and size of the objects. Through the games we found out that the more power we use, the faster things move. We also practised our social skills and communication skills by showing our respect for each other.
After we played the games, we held a discussion and some of the students recognized the similarities between the games. The games required us to perform certain actions (throw, push and pull) to make the objects move from one place to another. To engage our knowledge, we read a variety of books, including ‘The Enormous Turnip’, ‘I Can’t Open It’ and ‘Motion’. We also had the opportunity to role play ‘The Enormous Turnip’ book in front of our friends. This story helped us to understand that we need forces to make things speed up or slow down.
One of our formative assessments required students to differentiate between pictures using a Venn Diagram. Students categorized which pictures showed pushing activities, pulling activities or both. After finishing, the students did a bus stop activity to observe other groups’ ideas. From the observation, students found out that other groups had different ideas so we held a discussion to enrich our understanding.
Here are some examples of the students’ comments.
Group A: “Bu, we observed that other groups put the fishing picture as an example of a pulling activity. We think it’s supposed to be a pushing and pulling activity because we have to cast the fishing line out first and after we get the fish, we have to pull it.”
Group B: “We put the fishing picture as an example of pulling activity because we saw the girl in the picture already got her fish, so she only needed to pull the fishing line in.”
When discussing the other pictures, the students sometimes had the same opinions and sometimes their opinions were different. We learnt that it is important to listen to others’ opinions, because every point of view has its own angle and every angle has merit.
We also conducted some experiments about how forces affect movement. Students explored the three stations provided, each representing different types of force. After doing the activities at the three stations, students explained their experiences in one particular station through drawing and writing.
We believe that through play students are able to explore things more enthusiastically and also learn how to negotiate with one another and solve problems, be more of a risk-taker, and develop self-confidence.
Grade 1 Teachers
Sekolah Pilar Indonesia