All Maple Bear Early Childhood programs emphasize play and play-based learning as critical components of the curriculum. Whether the children are learning language or developing literacy, exploring numeracy or discovering the natural world, play-based activities and experiences really enhance a wide-range of skills.
What is play-based learning?
Any activity or experience can be considered play-based learning, as long as:
- It is motivating and no expectation of a reward
- There’s an opportunity to self-direct and make choices
- It is creative or has an imaginative component
- There is full engagement from the child – both physically and mentally
- There’s an opportunity to repeat and practice again
- And… it is enjoyable!
Play-based Learning At School Called Learning Centres
One of the ways that Maple Bear incorporates play with learning is through what is known as “learning centres”.
This is an area in the classroom that is dedicated to an activity for a small group, typically 4 students.
They are designed to provide opportunities for students to explore, discover and apply skills that are derived from the curriculum.
They promote critical, creative thinking, and collaborative skills and allow the children to work in groups with and without teacher assistance.
Here’s an example of what a Maple Bear learning centre activity looks like:
The teacher introduces each activity to make sure that the students know what is expected of them. Every group rotates through all of the learning centre activities.
Teachers Assist and Observe
Learning centres allow the teacher to work with a small group and observe how each student is doing, both socially and academically.
Even though there is lots of preparation required of the teachers, centres are an excellent learning format because they encourage responsibility and independence that will prepare the young children for elementary.
And most importantly, the students have fun while learning.