Why play as inquiry?

trains labels

The children looked at books with railway bridges….they began to mimic their observations in their building. The teacher sounded out labels with them and they then labelled their structure.

Play based learning for all children, as for all adults, offers authentic, engaging and meaningful educational experiences. These experiences are complex, linked to life long learning and are a part of supporting children in authentically learning for academic, social and creative success.

It is important to recognise that there are many degrees to this approach. A full seamless day to explorative units based on a specified topic or UOI. But what counts is the recognition that children’s play is and can be the starting point.

In the older grades it is their interests that lead the way. You may have students interested in a variety of areas: art, science, music, mathematics etc. the educator then needs to ensure that the content can be expressed through these interests. An animal study can be expressed through a project of reconstructing a skeleton to analysing the way animals have been used in science….again it is the role of the educator to make the links and establish the expected outcomes.


After this child built his lego robot he used the iPad to take a photo and then labelled the different parts. Once again this became a spelling lesson from the play experience chosen by this child. During units of inquiry the structures children build are guided by the unit.

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