I knew that moving from teaching Reception to Year 1 in the middle of a pandemic would challenge my own personal teaching practice. Indeed, COVID-19 revealed to me the immediate need to evaluate our entire approach to teaching and learning in Key Stage 1. In particular, it prompted me to re-imagine the place of purposeful play. In this blog I will outline the pedagogical theory underpinning the power of play, how we approached it in the School 21 classroom, and what we learned.
Children’s individual lived experiences of the pandemic have widely differed during both school closures. For some students, being at home has provided them with greater freedom and more time to explore, play, and gain independence in their own learning. Others have been deprived of a safe, consistent place to learn, play and socialise with peers. Whatever their circumstances, children have experienced a period of constant readjustment. The need to support children’s wellbeing, as well as their learning needs, is more evident than ever.
Play in KS1 is a powerful way to nurture the children’s well-being whilst also laying the foundations for a holistic education for all children.