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:
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.
David Sobolewski has 31 years of classroom teaching experience and another 8 years as a consultant with Teacher Induction and Inclusive Learning at Edmonton Public Schools. Over the last two years he has been engaged in researching and designing resources, tools and professional learning opportunities for teachers and administrators that support play-based learning.
David provides confidential, non-evaluative support through coaching, collaboration and consultation with beginning teachers and teachers returning to the profession after extended leaves. As a teacher-mentor, David supports a vision of building leadership capacity right from the beginning of a teacher's career. Mentoring practices are built around processes designed to engage teachers by offering support, creating challenge and facilitating a professional vision. David provides support through consulting, coaching and collaborative processes. Inquiry-based learning, English language arts, early literacy, student assessment, classroom organization and student engagement are areas where David has had extensive experience providing leadership and support.
David also has had extensive national and international exposure conducting workshops and seminars for experienced teachers, consultants and administrators working as an independent consultant through his consulting business, Ideas in Action. Play-Based Learning, New Teacher Induction, Early Childhood Education, Effective Assessment Practices, English Language Arts, Elementary Program Planning, and Teaching Strategies are areas where he has been called upon to give insight and support.
Administrator/Administration, Educational Assistant/Assistant en éducation, Learning Coaches/Accompagnateur pédagogique, Substitute Teachers/Enseignant suppléant, Teachers/Enseignant
K-3/Maternelle à 3
This learning activity includes lunch.