​What is play-based learning?

Play-based learning uses children's natural curiosity to motivate learning by letting children choose activities that match with their own interests and ideas. Teachers design play areas and then respond to children's play to create learning moments. Research shows that young children feel more motivated and excited to learn when they choose activities that naturally interest them, rather than spending time following teachers' instructions.

Play-Based Learning

Child-directed, play-based learning helps children to:

  • learn through activities they choose, not activities a teacher tells them to do
  • practice social skills and problem solving with other children
  • learn to manage their emotions
  • gain confidence making their own decisions
  • practice being independent
  • learn academic skills through activities they enjoy
  • feel excited about learning and going to school

Resources for Parents

Much research has been done on the importance of play for young children and how it supports children's development. If you have questions about how or what your child is learning at preschool, please speak with your child's teacher or contact a Parents' Advisory Committee (PAC) Executive.  Below are some resources you may find helpful if you'd like more information on learning through play or tips for play at home.

Play, Its the Way Young Children Learn, Action Alliance for Children

The Power of Play: 6 Things You Should Know, Calgary Board of Education, How Can I Support My Child's Learning in Kindergarten?

CMEC Statement on Play-Based Learning, Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

​"Children learn the most from play when they have skilled teachers who are well-trained in understanding how play contributes to learning. Most child-development experts agree that play is an essential part of a high-quality learning program. Play is not a break from learning - it's the way young children learn."

Action Alliance for Children