Play Based Learning: An Inquiry Based Approach

“Play is the highest form of research.”– Albert Einstein

We held another PYP Parent Information sessions last Thursday focused on the value of play in the classroom. Parents who attended this session learned more about the importance of play, brain development, the role that play has on future success and development of the child, and the role that the PYP framework has to help support our youngest learners.

Parents got to explore (and play themselves!) some of the materials used in the classroom, and engaged in conversations about the purpose of each of these materials in play. From building materials to robots & even a simple piece of paper, there are multiple ways that play can be used as a vehicle for further inquiry and exploration. Ms. Keating, one of our Kindergarten teachers, also shared specific games, resources  and spaces within the classroom that provide our youngest learners opportunities to access and further develop language and mathematical thinking.

Another hint that play matters is that countries who achieve higher academically, like Sweden, Finland, China and Japan, have built more play into their school days. Whether it be brief breaks of 10 minutes or lengthy play times of 30 minutes or more, we’re seeing the evidence of play in our schools more and more. The IB program encourages us to be inquirers and thinkers (attributes of the Learner Profile), and what better way to do that with play! We’re fortunate to have creative spaces at Spicewood Elementary such as the the art & music rooms, Inquiry Lab and Teaching Garden that allow students to explore and create with a variety of modes and materials. You see more evidence of play in our classrooms, as well, as teachers provide Makerspace areas, Brain Breaks, building materials, and Peace Corners.

Even if you missed this informative evening, we’re sharing a short video that captures of the heart of play based learning and the purpose it has in the PYP classroom as we grow our internationally minded students. Did you know that play and inquiry  learning is not limited to the classrooms here at Spicewood? You too, can foster play in your home by instilling some of the following :

  • Get outside! Movement and getting outdoors increases the brain activity, allowing for higher level thinking & creativity
  • Be observant of your child’s interests. Elaborate and ask questions about what your child is doing
  • Play should be child directed. Give your child ample time to play alone
  • Bring out the puzzles & games that allow your child to problem solve
  • Step back and slow down. With such busy lives, allowing more space for exploration provides child with the space they need to thrive