How to get into Play-Based Learning: Part 3 – A Playful Classroom Environment
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How to get into Play-Based Learning: Part 3 – A Playful Classroom Environment

>>Narrator: Azadeh is implementing a play-based
approach in her science units. She has combined two different grade two
science and technology curriculum strands into several matter discovery stations. Azadeh’s classroom includes a carpeted area
for circle time, and tables for collaborative work. Each discovery station is inviting, but
not cluttered with materials. Some stations provide clues to guide students’ exploration. It’s ok if students use the materials in a different way, though. Azadeh integrates numeracy into student exploration by providing opportunities for sorting and classifying, counting and measuring. [ambient classroom noise] The classroom is well-stocked with loose parts, materials that can be used and combined multiple ways. Play materials are accessible to students; they are stored at student height, where they can
be easily retrieved and put away. When researching classroom storage and
organization, Azadeh saw a lot of Pinterest photos of attractive wicker baskets, which can be prohibitively expensive. Azadeh uses dollar store baskets and recycled materials, which work just as well. Classroom maintenance is a shared responsibility. Labels and photos assist with tidying and transitions. One of the most important classroom resources is time. Ideally students have a minimum of one hour each day for self-directed exploration. When students are stressed, changes in the brain and body make learning difficult. Azadeh tries to create a safe environment in her
classroom, where students feel free to explore, contribute ideas, and take
reasonable risks. In the past, Azadeh put a lot of time and energy into creating stunning bulletin boards. This year though, she has chosen to leave her walls
almost blank at the beginning of the school year. As the year progresses, the
walls fill with a wide range of student work. Instead of curated perfection, Azadeh’s classroom walls tell the story of student learning over time.>>Azadeh: Hello! Welcome!
Come on and sit down on the carpet. Good morning!>>Narrator: Azadeh’s classroom is a
safe environment for her students, and she shows this by warmly welcoming them
as they arrive each day. When students offer ideas, Azadeh
paraphrases them without criticism. [ambient classroom noises] Students are encouraged to work out disputes on their own, before asking for adult intervention. Azadeh models respectful listening and language.>>Azadeh: Would you want to sleep in that?
Yeah, it looks really comfy, super-comfy!>>Narrator: Developing the capacity for self-regulation is an important part of a child’s emotional development. Azadeh has created a quiet area in her classroom for students who need a break from the busy classroom atmosphere. Up next, learn how to assess student progress in a playful classroom.

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