Early Years Symposium

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

2nd Annual Early Years Symposium
Play-Based Approaches to Literacy and Numeracy
Saturday, October 13th, 2012

This past weekend, I participated in a professional learning opportunity entitled "Play-Based Approaches to Literacy and Numeracy."  

It's hard for me to know where to begin, as I found the entire day to be very insightful...

So, I decided to make a "wordle" using my notes:

Here a few key points about play-based learning:

  • Charles Pascal would like for "this way of learning (play-based learning) to penetrate through other grades."

  • Janette Pelletier asserts that tasks similar to a "worksheet of letter S...are ineffective...instead through play, we can promote language and literacy."  She asks, "Why play? Because that is what kids do!  It is important for self-regulation."  "How do we entertain what is play and what isn't play?"  "Play slips through out grasp...hard to define." Finally she shares the following points that the, "real experts are the children."  "Good kindergarten programs need play and effective instruction."  "Consider children's engagement...significantly less engaged when in whole group..." "Play is important to literacy...strong base of oral language..." "Capitalize on children's natural curiosity."

  • Kimberly Bezaire notes that when teachers want to participate in play they should try to become play partners and "invite (their students) rather than obligate (them)."  "Children's play is the curriculum."

  • Linda Cameron brought to our attention that, "play is a very powerful word." And that we should consider making "the environment literate...The environment as the third teacher."  Lastly, she suggest to, "co-play with kids...extend, elaborate, expand...be there to listen...provide the literacy tools."

  • Cathy Bruce and Joan Moss introduced us to the notion of math as being "playful and profound" and "fantasy play in math."  The also mentioned that "play alone doesn't allow children to mathematize...capitalizing on teachable learning moments...no ceiling curriculum...start from what children know and see where they can go..." (How high they can reach.)

Thank you to all of the experts who shared with us their wisdom about play.

Thank you also to my critical friends who joined me during this professional learning opportunity.  It's always a pleasure to learn alongside you!


  1. I was so happy when I found your blog. I am in the middle of transforming my classroom and that of our districts ideas around early learning. I am looking forward to reading and following your journey.

    Kelli Lundie
    Delta BC

  2. Hi Kelli,

    Thank you for finding my blog and we look forward to having you follow our journey!


    Joanne Babalis