Pathways to Play

Educators have come to realize the importance of play and its essential role in the growth of all domains of early human development. Through play, children gain the experiences needed to make discoveries and connections essential for developing cognitive abilities while also deepening abilities to relate socially and emotionally. Play is a natural process that if carefully facilitated, will provide the experiences necessary for healthy early development which in turn enhances the chances of success when beginning formal schooling.

This session is designed to help teachers and administrators gain insights into the importance of play and its relevance as the key pedagogical approach to teaching young children. We will look at how play in the early years impacts success in the years following kindergarten. This session will unpack an educational definition of play and establish its relationship to how young children learn. Together, we will explore 12 distinct forms of play and their relevance to a child’s early development. We will examine components of a “play-based classroom” and compare it to a content-based classroom. We will also touch on the essential documents administrators need to be aware of in order to meet the expectations of Alberta Education in regards to teaching young learners. Our discussions during this session will be guided by examining the administrator’s role in facilitating play-based classrooms. To this end, we will be looking through a lens that helps establish this understanding by exploring the importance of 4 pathways essential for learning through play:

  •    The Learning Environment - setting up a child-sensitive play-based classrooms
  •    Design for Learning - planning and programming
  •    Teacher and Learner Disposition - having an early childhood mindset
  •    Assessment - gathering information about young learners

Finally, this session will look at ways administrators can facilitate conversations and ongoing professional development with staff members.  A “take-away” from this session is a tool designed to help with ongoing professional development and with establishing dialogue with staff members aimed at maximizing the potential for success of our young learners. This tool is designed in a way that it can also be used as a catalyst for change towards a more play-based K and pre- K program or alternatively, it can be used to positively reinforce and recognize exemplary practices in your school or school district.


Lloyd Garrison School
4714 51 Ave
Berwyn AB

Date & Time:

October 29, 2019 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

For more information and to register, go here.