CMEC Statement on Play-Based Learning

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A great start….

play-based-learning_statement_EN.pdf (application/pdf Object).

Of course, play lies at the core of innovation and creativity for adults too….. what do you think real scientists do all day?

CMEC = Council of Ministers of Education

CMEC StatementonPlay-BasedLearning





Atthe recentWorldConferenceon EarlyChildhoodCareand Education,organizers, keynote speakers, scientists,experts, and politicalfiguresunderscored the enormous benefitsof early learning.1

CMEC agrees with this positionand believes that purposeful play– based early learning sets the stage for future learning, health, and well-being.


Learning through playissupported byscience.


The benefitsof play are recognized by the scientificcommunity. There is now evidence that neural pathways in childrens brains are influencedand advanced in their development through exploration, thinking skills, problem solving, and language expression that occur during play.


Research also demonstrates that play-based learning leads to greater social, emotional,and academic success. Based on such evidence, ministers of educationendorse a sustainable pedagogy for the future that does not separate play from learning but brings them together to promote creativityin future generations.In fact, play is considered to be so essentialto healthy development that the United Nationshas recognized it as a specificright for all children.2


Learning through playissupported byexperts.


Learning through play is supported by early years experts.

Lev Vygotsky identifiedplay as the leading source of development

in terms of emotional,social, physical, language, or cognitive

development. Psychologist David Elkind that “play is not only our

creativedrive; its a fundamental mode oflearning.3Such experts

recognize that play and academic work are not distinctcategories for

young children: creating,doing, and learning are inextricably linked.

When children are engaged inpurposeful play, they are discovering, creating,improvising, and expanding their learning.Viewing children as activeparticipantsin their owndevelopment and learning allows

educators to move beyond preconceived expectationsabout what children should be learning, and focus on what they are learning.

Learning through playissupported bychildrenand parents.


Learning through play is supported by children. It is their natural response to the environment around them. When children are manipulatingobjects, actingout roles, or experimentingwith different materials, they are engaged in learning through play. Play allows them to activelyconstruct, challenge, and expand their own understandings through making connectionsto prior experiences, thereby opening

the door to new learning. Intentionalplay-based learning enables children to investigate,ask questions,solve problems, and engage in criticalthinking. Play is responsive to each childs unique learning style and capitalizes on his or her innate curiosity and creativity.Play-based learning supports growth in the language and culture of children and their families.


When childrenare playing,childrenare learning.


Given the evidence, CMEC believes in the intrinsic value and importance of play and its relationshipto learning. Educators should intentionallyplan and create challenging, dynamic, play– based learning opportunities.Intentionalteaching is the opposite of teaching by rote or continuingwith traditionssimply because

things have always been done that way. Intentionalteaching involves educators being deliberate and purposeful in creatingplay-based learning environments — because when children are playing, children are learning.




Play lies at the core of innovationand creativity.It provides opportunitiesfor learning in a context in which children are at their most receptive.Play and academic work are not distinctcategories for young children, and learning and doing are also inextricably linked for them.

(Ontario Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten

Program, 2010)


In play, children represent and transform the world around them, providing other children and adults with a window into their thoughts and perceptions,and oftenhelping adults to see the world in new ways.

(BC Early Learning Framework, 2008)


Play expands intelligence, stimulatesthe imagination, encourages creativeproblem solving, and helps develop confidence,self-esteem, and a positive attitudetoward learning.

(Dr. Fraser Mustard)


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