Campbell Primary School has two preschool units - Campbell Preschool, located on school grounds, and the Allen Main Memorial Preschool at Duntroon. Strong relationships between preschool and primary school staff and students help to create a cohesive, stimulating and supportive environment that caters for individual needs and interests while maximising student learning.
Play and Learning
Children's learning through the medium of play has been examined and researched for many decades, and the role and purposes of play as a learning tool has been examined through theories and perspectives of children's learning (theorists include: Fredrich Froebel, Rudolph Steiner, John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Margaret MacMillan, Susan Isaacs, Jean Piaget, Lev Vygotsky).
What do we know about play?
We know that '... play shapes the architecture of the brain in unique ways; it links social, creative and cognitive skills' (Bartlett, 2010)
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child affirms '... play as a fundamental right of all children' (Article 31).
The Early Years Learning Framework (p. 46) defines play-based learning as:
A context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations. This confirms that play is nationally and internationally valued for its contribution to young children's lives and learning. But, it doesn't tell us exactly what is meant by 'play' and what roles educators should fulfil as they interact with children in early learning settings.
Drawing on the research of Dockett and Fleer (1999), Shipley (2008) and Lester and Russell (2008) Dr Lennie Barblett put forward seven basic characteristics of play:
- Voluntary - something children choose to do, but other children can be invited to join in.
- Pleasurable - a deep sense of enjoyment,which will vary from child to child
- Symbolic - usually includes some typeof make believe or pretend and objects assume new meanings and purposes for the player/s.
- Meaningful - to the player/s, but the meaning may not always be clear to an
- Active - it requires active mental, verbal or physical engagement with people, objects or ideas.
- Process oriented - it's enjoyed for the activity itself, not concerned with an end product.
- Intrinsically motivated - it is its own reward.