Wednesday, March 3, 2021
England is unusual in its more formal approach to learning in Year 1. In many other countries formalised approaches to teaching and learning do not begin until age six (White and Sharp, 2007). Many high performing Scandinavian countries for example, focus on play-based approaches to learning, distinguishing between ‘free play, such as might happen at breaktime in an English school, structured play-based learning experiences, as might happen in the classroom and beyond, with the careful support of skilled adults (Grindheim and Ødegaard, 2013). A group of 23 practitioners from nine primary schools working with the London South Teaching School Alliance wanted to experiment with a play-based approach to learning, since they felt that early formalisation was detrimental to engagement, motivation and general wellbeing for children. The project involved teachers undertaking collaborative research projects, working both within school teams and across schools, using a Research Learning Communities model (Brown, 2017) and led by an experienced facilitator of teacher research projects. The session explores the successes and challenges of the project and evidence of impact. It offers a set of practical ideas and advice for introducing play-based learning in Year 1, which are relevant to both Year 1 teachers and senior leaders.PLAY BASED LEARNING IN YEAR 1: A practical guide for schools (PDF)
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