All work no play not the way
A RECENT event in Lockridge raised awareness of Early Childhood Australia WA’s plan to develop a play strategy to address a lack of play-based education in schools.
ECAWA committee member Sandra Hesterman spoke to more than 300 parents and children at the Lockridge Play Date event at Lockridge Primary School on July 8. Dr Hesterman said the ECAWA had identified in 2013 the decreased opportunities for playbased education as a “serious concern” that worsened over time.
“The Federal Government had mandated a framework which was called the Early Years Learning Framework,” she said.
“That document has specific emphasis on play-based learning but what we are finding is that a lot of teachers are put under pressure not to provide opportunities for play-based learning.
“Typically that is because there is an idea that we need to start formalised learning at an earlier age in preparation for Year 3 National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (Naplan) testing.”
Dr Hesterman, a Murdoch University early childhood education director, said the lack of play-based learning in early schooling years made it difficult for university students to experience what they learn at university during placement at schools.
“More than 70 parties, including the City of Bayswater, schools, early childhood centres, parenting groups and paediatricians, have supported ECAWA’s bid to develop a play strategy,” Dr Hesterman said.
She said the strategy would provide a chance for all involved to have the conversation because it had slipped off the radar.
“There is a realisation that the pendulum at the moment has swung too far and people are feeling uncomfortable that young children in kindergarten are doing worksheets,” she said.
Nathalie Burke from Messy Moments gets messy with Laura Patterson and Alexis and Zara Miller.