How To Differentiate for Inclusive Play, and Play-Based Learning – 20 May 2023

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How teachers, educators and parents can individualise play to create inclusive, neuroaffirming, trauma-informed and developmentally supportive learning experiences.

This 90 minute webinar, with Alice Campbell, is suitable for teachers, parents and other educators. The webinar will provide insights and skills to support authentic and inclusive play-based learning in individual and group settings.

Date: Saturday 20th May (Americas & UK); Sunday 21st May (Australia & Asia)

Cost: $22.50Au (approx. $15US). Reduced fee options available for low-income earners and homeschool parents. All attendees must be individually registered.

Recording: The live webinar will be recorded for later viewing. Participants will have access to the recording for 6 months.

Inclusive Play-Based Learning: Webinar Overview

This webinar could also be called ‘What should I do when play-based learning doesn’t work?‘.

Along with supportive relationships, play is generally recognised as the richest context for children’s learning. Many teachers and parents understand and appreciate the profound value of play-based learning.

It is ironic then, that most teacher training does not provide an in-depth exposure to designing and using play-based curriculum for diverse children. Similarly, homeschool families can face enormous challenges in accessing play-based learning experiences. It is therefore no surprise that – with such limited tools – many of us feel frustrated when children seem to not engage in play, or when their play fails to support learning goals. In this way, play-based learning has become a broken promise to both children and educators. Learning experiences become devoid of play, children’s learning becomes compromised, and educators become disillusioned.

Understanding the Challenge of Play-Based Learning

Much of the problem lies in how we think abut play. Typically, play-based curriculum is packaged into certain types of ‘activities’ such as ‘games’, ‘construction’, ‘potion-making’, or ‘loose parts’. Subsequently, when these activities fail to engage all children in the way we expect, we conclude that play-based learning only ‘works’ for some. At the same time, we begin to suspect the disengaged child has something ‘wrong’ with them because they cannot engage in (this form of) ‘play’. Viewing play as an ‘activity’ in this way excludes many children from play-based learning. Children who have experienced trauma, loneliness, whose development is not in sync with their peers, or who are divergent thinkers, are particularly vulnerable to this exclusion.

Facing the Challenge: Making Play Inclusive and Responsive

However, the good news is that when we find the path to authentic play-based learning, it is inclusive of all children. We can achieve this by looking deeper at the meaning of play and understanding that ‘play’ is not just an alternative word for ‘fun activities’. Rather, play – authentic play – refers to a state-of-mind. It is a particular way of thinking, feeling and responding. Once we understand that play is a mental process that all children are capable of, we no longer need to organise activities for children to do. Rather, we can begin to respond to what – and how – they are experiencing.

In this webinar, Alice will guide participants through a framework for understanding and thinking about how we can teach and engage children with play. However, this webinar is not a simple ‘how to’ guide. Instead of providing one-size-fits-all directions, Alice will focus on sharing her roadmap for planning and problem-solving. This is one way to create inclusive play-based learning experiences for all children – both those who develop typically and those with divergent profiles. This map takes into account the perspectives and voices of everyone in the play-based learning community: the child, play partners, and the adults. Using practical examples, case studies, and interactive activities, participants will learn to reflect on ways to use play-based learning to include and affirm all children’s ways of being – and learning – in the world.

Differentiating Play – Webinar Content

In this 90 minute webinar, we will use discussion, case studies and practical examples to explore the following topics:

1. Understanding Inclusive Play-Based Learning: An activity…or an experience?
  • What is authentic play (and what isn’t).
  • The qualities of play that support learning.
  • The importance of non-play.
2. Play-Based Learning: The Adult’s Role
  1. The role of the adult.
  2. The educator’s perspective: Three types of play and how to plan for them.
  3. Rituals and routines.
3. Play-Based Learning: The Partner’s Role
  • Play partners: friends and participants.
  • The partner’s perspective: reframing Parten’s stages of play development through an inclusion and neuroaffirming lens.
  • Framing social play.
4. Play-Based Learning: The Child’s Role
  • The child’s role in play.
  • The function of autonomous motivation.
  • The child’s perspective: Using Chazan’s framework for play complexity to design deep play-based learning.
5. Inclusive Play-Based Learning: A Road Map
  • Useful tools