Created on: 13 Jan 2022 | Last modified: 20 Apr 2023
Paula Douglas, Rachel Frew and Nicola Blain
It is now widely accepted that play is an essential part of learning and development for children particularly in the early years and that this approach to learning and teaching has had a positive impact on confidence and attainment within the lower stages of primary education. This has led to an increase in schools and teachers successfully implementing a child centred, play based approach to learning in the lower stages of primary school to deliver all areas of the curriculum. As children grow up, play remains just as important to their learning and development.
However, there has been limited research into the impact of a child centred, play based approach to learning in the upper stages of primary school. Here we investigate the impact of implementing a play based approach to learning on pupils’ health and wellbeing in two upper primary classes. Following a return to school after a period of home learning we asked pupils from two classes to complete a health and wellbeing survey.
Pupils rated themselves against the school values relating to; resilience, respect, confidence, happiness and love of learning. We then delivered an 8 week block of learning and teaching using a child centred, play based approach. At the end of the block of learning, pupils were asked to complete a second survey, again asking them to rate their health and wellbeing against the school values.
Our initial findings indicated that there had been a substantial increase in pupil health and wellbeing and overall engagement in learning following a play based approach to learning. This suggests that play based learning has a significant impact on pupils learning and development in upper primary.
This report offers insight into the implementation of a play based approach to learning on pupils’ health and wellbeing in two upper primary classes, which may support members to implement similar approaches in this or similar context. The project also establishes a methodology for exploring the impact of other adaptations on pupils’ health and wellbeing, which will be of value to practitioners exploring various health and wellbeing topics.