All work no play not the way

Eastern Reporter - - Constable Care Safety School -

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.

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