Exploring play-based learning in full-day kindergarten in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador

Ogolo, Chinwe (2021) Exploring play-based learning in full-day kindergarten in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Teaching through play-based learning is emphasized as a fundamental strategy for achieving full-day kindergarten curriculum objectives in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Through a multi-case studies design, this study investigated the implementation of play-based learning by exploring three kindergarten teachers’ perceptions of, and experiences with, play-based learning. In addition, the study explored four practices, outlined as play-based pedagogical practices in Newfoundland and Labrador, in three English classrooms. These practices involve how the classroom environment was set up to enhance literacy and numeracy learning, how much time was provided for children to play and explore, sustained shared thinking between teachers and children, and how teacher-directed and child-initiated activities are integrated. Furthermore, the study sought to understand children’s opinions on play and learning in full-day kindergarten. Data collection methods included direct observations, semi-structured interviews, drawings, and photographs. The data was analysed through a universal design for learning framework. The findings reveal that the teachers believe that there is a relationship between play and learning, and that play-based learning benefits children academically and developmentally. Also, the findings illustrate that the three kindergarten classrooms implemented the outlined practices. The children had ample time to engage in free play, literacy and numeracy were integrated into every area of learning and the environment, teachers and children engaged in sustained shared thinking, and there was a combination of teacher-directed and child-initiated activities. There was also a mix of large group, small group, individual learning, and child-initiated activities. The findings demonstrate that although children enjoy playing and believe that they learn when they play, they found it difficult conceiving play and learning as the same. A result worth considering are challenges, which might impact the teachers’ implementation of play-based learning, especially insufficient materials, resources, and inadequate teacher preparation/education.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/14981
Item ID: 14981
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references.
Keywords: play-based learning, universal design for learning, full-day kindergarten, teacher-directed activities, child-initiated activities, sustained shared thinking, play, learning, kindergarten teacher, kindergarten children.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: February 2021
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Education, Primary--Aims and objectives--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's; Kindergarten teachers--Newfoundland and Labrador--St. John's--Attitudes.

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