They say experience is the best teacher and now there are calls for children in schools across Western Australia to spend less time at the desk and more time out and about.
The State School Teacher’s Union is campaigning for the State Government to secure play-based learning across WA schools.
The Union today launched its Play is Learning campaign, which pushed for more active and physical engagement with children from Kindergarten up to Year Two.
It says there should be no formal testing for students below Year Three because it hinders early childhood development.
“That sort of pressure that gets put on children, the more anxious they get, the more stressed and then of course it just becomes a vicious cycle,” Union President Pat Byrne said.
The Union wants a state-wide strategy which balances play-based learning and teacher-led explicit instructions.
“We know that play teaches resilience, it teaches social skills, it teaches people rules and how to work in society,” Ms Byrne said.
Children learn through play, it underpins everything that we do in our environment,” Bassendean Primary School teacher Jenny Reid said.
“The attention span is often short, so it’s important to keep them moving and to keep them doing and to give them those brain-break opportunities.
Education Minister Sue Ellery said she supports play-based learning in WA schools.
“We already ensure, in the early years in particular, that play is an integral part in how kids learn,” Ms Ellery said.
While the Union acknowledges the government’s overall support, it says the framework doesn’t exist to ensure every child has access to play-based learning.
“At this stage it is not properly resourced, we don’t have a play-based curriculum that’s widely disseminated in Western Australia and we certainly don’t have teacher-professional learning to back it up,” Ms Byrne said.