Curriculum & Programs - Developmental Play
WHY DEVELOPMENTAL PLAY?
- At Donald Primary School we focus on Building the Foundations for Learning especially in Prep – 2.
- Some children simply are not ready to learn when they begin prep.
- So it is imperative that we show them the skills required to become a self learner.
- Belief that every child can learn.
- Oral Language
- Auditory Memory
- Social Skills
- Following directions and instructions.
- Improvement in Quality of writing.
"Developmental Play" or "Developmental Curriculum"
It is more than just Play. Play is a label that the children are comfortable with.
‘Curriculum’ or ‘Play’ are two labels that parents, teachers and the school council are happy with when they know what they mean.
Two hour session each morning which can then dictate what formal learning happens for the remainder of the day – if some ideas come out of ‘play’ we use them in our maths or literacy sessions.
We keep each rotation to 2 weeks unless it is so successful or still developing we have used a couple of ideas for longer and slightly changed the focus. We have also had a rest from the idea and gone back to it at a later rotation as it has been a chance to develop concepts further.
Sharing happens all the time. Just stop a group or a couple of students and talk about a problem they might have and ask for help to solve it. If it is a really important concept then the whole grade stops and we all go to the area that needs help. They enjoy sharing their ideas and helping each other and sharing usually works best if you can share just before they have to pack up as often work has to be dismantled because of room constraints. I have found that the final sharing gets more out of it if the items are still on display for everyone to see as they talk about it.
What’s happening in play board. Have up a list with a picture of the different areas to go to and we have tried writing sentences or drawing pictures about their area to add to the board. This can help with discussions the next day about what has been happening and where the area is going.
Use an interest table for students to bring in items from home so that we can use them to stimulate and then can form areas from these at times. We had a student go overseas for an extended holiday and used this to do a world area, which led to the making of aeroplanes and numbers and letters etc on seats, food choices to eat on aeroplanes. The students often come up with more ideas than we could think of.
We have an ‘outside’ area when the weather is suitable. This has been a variety of topics – garden, water, sand, painting.
Construction & Collage
We always have areas that are linked to construction and collage and these areas are always available if students decided in their group they need to make something to help their area. They don’t change groups, they just go and get the materials they need and take it back to their area, eg. The doctors surgery needed some instruments made so they went and got the items needed to make it.
No Moving Between Groups
Students stay in the one area for the entire session (or day) even if they ask to change we have no exceptions and try to get them to develop ideas further in the area they are in. This is important to get the students thinking more deeply about concepts and ideas.
The packing up of equipment is very important. Students need to be responsible for the mess they have made and ensure that area that they have been in looks the same way that they found it.