What is Play-Based Learning?
Play-based learning is exactly what it sounds like: a philosophy that children learn best through play. In a play-based classroom, children’s learning is open-ended rather than dictated by a strict pre-written curriculum. Educators are facilitators and guides instead of directors of learning. At BHN, educators build from each child’s interests and prior knowledge to create environments that encourage the development of confidence, perseverance, and problem-solving skills. Instead of relying on rote memorization for teaching kindergarten readiness skills, children at BHN gain concrete competencies like pre-literacy skills, spatial awareness, emotional competence, and number sense while experiencing the joy of discovery and learning. Through play, children flex the most important skill of all -- they are active agents in their learning.
BHN classrooms have an “area”-based approach to play-based learning. “Areas” are learning stations that children choose to work in collaboratively or independently during educational time, under the supervision of an educator. Areas are linked to an overarching theme of study and inquiry-- some weeks BHN classrooms may explore “Things That Go,” and the next may delve into a topic like “Light and Shadow.” The play that happens during area time is an opportunity for children to try new things, expand on familiar concepts, and solidify prior learning. It is also a chance for educators to observe where children are, and link their play to skill-building.