Play Based Learning

At Vauxhall we consider Learning through Play (LTP) or Play-based Learning (PBL) to be a way of learning that is engaging, child centred and interest-driven, appropriate to, and for the development and well being of each individual child.

When children transition into school from early learning centres they enter with a sense of wonder and natural curiosity.

It can be overwhelming to take on so many new things in an environment that is formal and structured and very different from the experiences they have had as a preschooler.

Our PBL environment is designed to make the transition from preschool to school a smooth, enjoyable, highly motivating and engaging one.

A place where the children feel safe to try new things, to enhance their sense of wonder and learn persistence, cooperation, negotiation, resilience and a strong sense of belonging.

play based learning

After extensive research and with links to our own Vauxhall Curriculum developed from the New Zealand Curriculum, teachers provide open ended learning opportunities to discover, create, inquire, and problem solve appropriate to the stage of development of the individual child.

These opportunities are carefully thought out invitations and provocations (play activities) that develop the children’s own interests or urges. We constantly look for ways children demonstrate the national 'Key Competencies' for learning, our school Values and the Learning Areas of the New Zealand Curriculum.

While the PBL  model is child centred and interest driven there are many intentional acts of teaching that go alongside play where the teacher works with small groups of children in a quiet space on Literacy and Numeracy. Our Variable space learning environment lends itself to opportunities for small group sessions of explicit teaching to happen alongside PBL. While some teachers are encouraging, supporting, scaffolding, observing, and augmenting play, others are withdrawing children for small group or individual needs based explicit teaching in reading writing and maths. We see this also to be age and stage appropriate for the children with mat times and instructional times increasing as the children go through the school.

“ Children learn as they play. Most importantly, in play children learn how to learn” - O. Fred Donaldson

Related websites and articles


The Decline of Play TED talk Peter Gray


Play is learning- why play-time matters more than you think | Education Review

Outdoor classroom day – so kids can play, and learn, outdoors | Education Review