An inquiry into grade one teachers' experiences around play-based learning and pedagogy within their classroom practice

  • Author(s) / Creator(s)
  • This research study explores the definitions, value, and implementation of play-based learning practices beyond kindergarten, specifically, in grade one classrooms. By inquiring into two grade one teacher participants’ experiences, the teacher researcher (a
    grade one teacher), also shares her experience with play-based learning. The need for this study is important as there are often significant gaps in how teachers may interpret the broader learner outcomes within the kindergarten curriculum compared to how students
    are transitioned into a grade one classroom with more specific learning outcomes and curricular expectations. The environment and expectations in grade one classrooms can drastically differ and the importance of play may be minimized as a result. Research contends that play throughout children’s development is critical because it fosters emotional regulation, creativity, and resilience. The literature also suggests that play enhances learning and supports the mental and physical health of children. Specifically, “when children are engaged in purposeful play, they are discovering, creating, improvising, and expanding their learning”. In this paper, the following will be explored: literature on play-based learning and pedagogy, participants’ definitions of play, how these grade one teachers strive to co-construct curriculum, barriers and building blocks in pedagogy related to play, and how COVID-19 has played a factor in shaping teachers’ ability to implement play-based learning. Lastly, the teacher researcher reflects on her evolving understanding of curriculum in relation to play, shifts in practice, and next steps.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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  • License
    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International