Interview: School Principal

Peter Fahey:

Play enables children to slowly enter secondary learning.

In that space, they learn the ability to share, to sequence, to take their thoughts and do something with them because they have the tools to take that abstract thinking and make it concrete.

We would call it co-opted, so it is as part of, it is not distinct, it is blended with.

There is a great phrase, 'form follows function'. We integrate play-based from P to six. And as it moves throughout P to six, one of the differences that you will see is the tools that we use or the forms.

In prep, we would have Play centres, such as a kitchen centre, a home corner, large blocks, symbolic material, conventional material.

We integrate many features of the curriculum. We integrate literacy with history and geography, etc. The form changes throughout the school.

The function of education is thinking and socialisation and collaboration. And that is highly abstract and very, very deep.

The benefits are many and varied. If I think about the curriculum, when children enter school, education policy says that they all must undergo formal assessments.

Now, when children undergo NAPLAN assessments in Year 3 and then in Year 4, by the time they reach Year 5, their growth is 3 to 4 times the national average.

As they progress through the school and they have the space to explain their thinking and the tools to explain their thinking, they belong, they are connected to the community, they have people around them. They are just few of many varied benefits.

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