Professional learning program: Differentiated/Play Based Inquiry Learning in the Early Years of Schooling

Delivered by the Department in partnership with Deakin University, the free online professional learning program recognises that children starting school in 2021 may have a greater diversity of learning needs due to impacts of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The program aims to optimise opportunities for play-based teaching and learning in the early years of school and develop and strengthen teachers' knowledge and understandings of the role of play and inquiry in children's lives and learning.

The multi-faceted program includes online modules, webinars, an online community of practice and a resource bank to support implementation of appropriate curriculum design and pedagogical approaches.

The program

The professional learning is designed to provide flexibility for participants to engage with relevant parts of the program to meet their learning needs at a time convenient for them.


There are four online modules:

  • Module 1 - commences 24 February: Understanding play and play-based, inquiry learning approach
  • Module 2 – commences 31 March: Planning and implementing a play-based, inquiry approach
  • Module 3 – commences 11 May: Assessing learning through play
  • Module 4 – commences 15 June: Play and differentiated learning

Each module will include:

One-hour webinar - the webinar is designed to deepen knowledge and allow participants to interact with a panel of experts/key stakeholders to facilitate collaborative learning. Participants can attend the webinar live, or it will be recorded and available to be viewed at another time.

Online Group will be created where conversations about embedding a play-based, inquiry learning approach can occur. This will allow for the development of a community of practice for the program participants, where practice implementation experiences can be shared, discussed and strengthened.

Resource Bank to inform learning and practice with links to websites for further resources and advice.

Please note, participants can register for this program throughout the year. You will be able to access the modules at any time and worked on at your own pace.

How to apply

Registration is now open.To find out more, and to register, refer to the program registration page.

Find out more

The orientation materials will support teachers’ thinking about how to implement a play-based approach in their classrooms. These materials will act as a precursor to the program itself. Please see, Orientation materials for more information.

For further enquiries, contact Early Learning Division: