Play Based Learning

Play Based & Inquiry Learning

At Awahono School - Grey Valley we are just beginning our journey with Play Based Learning (PBL).

We want the students of Awahono to be lifelong learners, that continue to wonder and explore the world around them and we believe that a Play Based curriculum helps provide this.

When they begin school we believe the focus needs to be how they feel about themselves as a learner. We want them to build positive experiences and a strong self confidence that they can learn. This level focuses on social and emotional skills through the use of exploratory play, rather than the cognitive skills.

“Create the thinker before you try and add the facts.” Nathan Mikaere-Wallis

While the PBL model is child centred and interest-driven there are many intentional acts of teaching that go alongside play where the teacher works with small groups of children on Literacy and Numeracy.

Brain Development Research by Nathan Wallis and the Brainwave Trust

  • According to Wallis (2017), research also shows that reaching cognitive milestones faster is not a sign that a child goes on to higher learning (university) or to be happier as an adult.

  • What determines success is the number of protective factors that a child experiences in their life as well as their disposition as a learner (how they see themselves as a learner by the time they are 7 years old).

  • Your brain is designed to focus on negative feedback way more than positive feedback. Therefore a child who sees themself as someone who is not good at school work (maybe because they have not reached certain cognitive stages yet) will grow to an adult with the attitude that they can't learn.

As our students move through school the focus shifts to applying their knowledge through project-based learning. Again there will continue to be explicit teaching of both Literacy and Numeracy.