Play-based curriculum is making learning fun for kindergarten students

Kindergarten students at St. Rose Catholic Elementary School are learning to adopt play-based learning into their curriculum. The board has provided the school with an early years facilitator who will help teachers adjust to the changes.

Educators say learning method makes children more engaged

Kindergarten students at St. Rose Catholic Elementary School are learning to adopt play-based learning into their curriculum. The board has provided the school with an early years facilitator who will help teachers adjust to the changes. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board has created a new position to help teachers implement play-based curriculum in the classrooms.

The relatively-new approach combines playtime with learning — allowing young minds to explore, experiment, discover and solve problems in imaginative ways.​​

Tara Bissonnette, the WECDSB's new early years lead teacher, arrived at St. Rose Catholic Elementary School on Wednesday. She'll work with instructors to figure out how best to structure the kids' days.

Tara Bissonnette, the Catholic board's new Early Years lead teacher, is working with teachers at St. Rose Catholic Elementary School to implement play-based learning for students. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

"What's amazing about this opportunity is that I will be able to go into individual classrooms and support them [with] their questions and where they feel they want to deepen their program."

She said teachers will use photos, videos and notes to analyze what the children like to do in their playtime in an effort to design the best educational activities.

She explained that it's meant to analyze the child's thinking, and "deepen their knowledge through play."

Teachers welcoming the new approach

Kellie Lauzon, a teacher at St. Rose, said the kindergarten approach has "changed over the last few years." She said play-based learning has been her most preferred form of instruction over her 30-year teaching career.

"There is more play but it's purposeful play. If you look around the classroom, there's various provocations set up for the children to explore with," Lauzon said.

St. Rose kindergarten teacher Kellie Lauzon has been teaching for more than 25 years and says play-based learning is her favourite form of instruction. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

One example she points to is counting down from 10 to one for a child who wants to be an astronaut when they're older, comparing the countdown to a space ship taking off. 

Lauzon said adjusting educational activities based on what the kids like will ultimately make them more engaged.

"The children leave here and they have a great feeling about school. It's very positive for them."

With files from Dale Molnar