Comprehensive resources for parents and professionals in play-based early childhood education

Ask any child what they like to do best, and the answer is unanimous

…they want to play.

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Through play, children become eager, capable learners. They know how to navigate their way through tough problems and social roadblocks, pursuing their own ideas to a successful conclusion.

The most important skills one needs for success in life are developed through play. Language and social skills, concentration, memory and adaptability in the face of change also contribute to a child’s executive functioning. Research has shown positive executive functioning skills are the foundation upon which academic concepts can be successfully learned. Readiness for school, therefore, means much more than IQ or knowing letters and numbers.

Within this site, you’ll witness many examples of what goes on in effective play-based learning environments. Here, play is not a frivolous endeavour that takes away from the instruction of academics, rather it is the work of children as they learn. The researchers and professional mentors from Galileo Educational Network put great thought and intention into guiding the experiences of children; extending learning and helping them make meaning of their world.

Play expands intelligence, stimulates the imagination, encourages creative problem solving, and helps develop confidence, self-esteem, and a positive attitude toward learning.

~Dr. Fraser Mustard

A growing consensus among psychologists and neuroscientists maintains that children learn best when allowed to explore their environments through play.  Preschools are increasingly turning away from play-based learning to lectures and testing.  Placing heavy emphasis on academics early in life is not only out of line with how young brains develop, it might even impede successful learning later on. (Scientific American, Nov. 2, 2011: Preschool Tests Take Time Away From Play–And Learning.)

CMEC Play-Based Learning Statement

The Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) released a statement on Play-Based Learning in the spring of 2012 stating that learning through play is supported by science, experts, children and parents. In 2014 CMEC released the Early Learning and Development Framework. The framework presents a pan-Canadian vision for early learning that can be adapted to the unique needs and circumstances of each province and territory. It is designed to serve as a resource to support the development of policies and initiatives by ministries and departments of education and their partners that enhance the quality and continuity of the learning experience in the early years and beyond.

CMEC Play Based Learning Statement

CMEC Early Learning Framework