Play-based and inquiry learning

New professional learning for teachers to support differentiated play-based and inquiry learning in the early years

A new online module to strengthen teachers' understanding of the role of play and inquiry in children's lives and learning will be released on Tuesday 6 April.

The latest module, the second of four, will focus on planning and implementing play-based and inquiry learning.

It follows the release of the first module — an overview of play-based and inquiry learning — in February.

Play based and inquiry learning is the process during play when students inquire using their imagination to explore, experiment, discover, collaborate, improvise and create.

Play based and inquiry learning has a positive influence on social, physical, emotional and cognitive development.

Teachers can register for, access and complete the modules for free, at a time that suits them.

A teacher's perspective on the learning

Mulgrave Primary School teacher Amanda Hickleton has completed the first module and recommended the learning.

'Any teacher who works with younger year levels would benefit from this learning,' she said.

Amanda said a key learning so far was that play-based learning, like all other classroom learning, needed to be differentiated to meet the needs of each individual student.

'I have been able to implement this already in my classroom, as I have some students who are excelling and therefore have been able to assist and collaborate with peers,' Amanda said.

'Then I also have some students who need more guidance in this creative learning space, who I have been working closely with to foster their imagination and improvisation.'

More on the professional learning program

Delivered by the Department in partnership with Deakin University's School of Education, the program's four modules aim to optimise opportunities for play-based teaching and learning in the early years of primary school.

This is particularly important for children starting school in 2021, who may have a greater diversity of learning needs due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before starting the modules, teachers can view orientation materials including videos and an article exploring how play-based learning can set children up for success at school and beyond.

Each module will be followed by a one-hour webinar, where participants can interact with a panel of experts and key stakeholders.

The webinars will also be recorded for viewing at a later time via the Professional learning program: Differentiated/Play Based Inquiry Learning in the Early Years of Schooling web page.

Participants will also have access to an online community of practice, where participants can share practice implementation experiences. The Department will also develop a resource bank to support implementation of appropriate curriculum design and pedagogical approaches.

Release dates for the last two modules in the professional learning program are:

  • Monday 17 May: Assessing learning through play
  • Monday 21 June: Play and differentiated learning.

Teachers need to register once to access all four modules as they are released.

Find out more

For more information, and to register, refer to the Professional learning program: Differentiated/Play Based Inquiry Learning in the Early Years of Schooling web page.

For further enquiries, contact the Early Learning Division via email: psts@education.vic.gov.au