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Play, Discover, Learn
Our play-based learning philosophy
Playing and learning for life
KU strongly values the importance of play-based programs. They provide a wide range of active and
meaningful experiences. Planning by KU professionals is purposeful, building upon children’s strengths
and focusing on individual children’s interests, reflecting the national Early Years Learning Framework.

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The learning that occurs can be informal, gained as children talk, explore and try out different ways of doing things or it can be intentionally planned for.

Intentional teaching is when educators actively promote children’s learning through worthwhile and challenging experiences and interactions that foster high-level thinking skills and knowledge building. Play-based programs also assist children as they make the move to school. It is easy for adults to see what children are doing when they are involved in literacy and numeracy activities such as:

  • Reading and interacting with books
  • Writing or drawing
  • Building and constructing
  • Exploring art, craft, science or physical activities

At other times, it may be that children’s learning is not as obvious – for example, when children are thinking, talking with others, observing or doing things they have done before. In play-based programs children are learning all the time.

Dispositions to learning

As well as literacy and numeracy skills, children discover a great deal about themselves as friends and as members of communities. Through play-based programs, children learn “dispositions”, or ways of approaching tasks and activities. These guide their learning well beyond their early childhood years. Without positive dispositions, children may learn a wide range of skills and acquire a great deal of knowledge, but may choose not to apply these. Play-based programs promote many positive dispositions, including:

  • Persistence Revisiting an activity, sticking at it until completion
  • Curiosity Seeking to understand, to question and explore
  • Perseverance Sticking to a task or activity even when things do not proceed as expected, or when things go wrong
  • Helpfulness Assisting others in tasks or activities
  • Taking responsibility For example, assuming a role to see a task through to completion and helping others
Approaches to learning

Our play-based programs provide opportunities for children to revisit learning experiences many times. Successful, repetitive participation in play, particularly with others, encourages children to use a variety of approaches to learning. Using the national Early Years Learning Framework, children are guided in their learning and play to:

  • Have a strong sense of identity
  • Connect with and contribute to their world
  • Achieve a strong sense of wellbeing
  • Become confident and involved learners
  • Be effective communicators

Social Skills
Interacting with others is a core feature of our play-based programs. Through their play, children develop relationships with others and learn respect and tolerance towards each other and their environment. To interact effectively, young children need to observe and practice communication, negotiation and compromise. They also learn to identify and adopt different ways of interacting, respecting others’ views, developing relationships and resolving conflict.

Making the transition to school

Our high quality play-based programs are based on current research and are planned by experienced and qualified early childhood staff. Play-based programs incorporate choice for children, and enable them to experience many of the organisational elements that are important at school. These include developing understandings about:

  • What happens in a day – understanding time frames
  • Patterns of interaction – with adults and with children
  • Expectations – knowing what educators, parents and other children expect
  • Independence – making decisions, using initiative
  • Self regulation – making judgements about their own needs and responses
  • Planning – choosing experiences, planning how to approach tasks

Through play children learn the skills, knowledge, feelings and dispositions that provide a solid foundation for the transition to school and their life-long learning.

Please ask our staff about your child’s program and for an update on their progress.

Special thanks to Professor Sue Dockett
Murray School of Education
Charles Sturt University, Albury