CQUni teaches kids to play around with language
Published on 11 May, 2012
A group of Sunshine Coast youngsters were moving, shaking and mask-making today during an event organised by CQUniversity's final-year Early Childhood Education students, to celebrate Early Childhood Australia's Under 8s Week.
Held in the picturesque Noosa Library, ‘Language and Activity: Connecting Children to the World' celebrated the value of play-based learning by encouraging the three to seven year-olds to connect with all forms of language through story telling, dance and arts and crafts.
CQUniversity Early Childhood Education student Nikita Barnett (left) and Lecturer Kathy Bauer enjoy the Under Eights Week activities with Jack Lafferty (left), 5, and Luke Stevens, 5.The day's emphasis on incorporating play into early childhood education is part of an effort from educators to integrate leading play-based learning techniques with the national literacy curriculum.
CQUniversity Lecturer in Early Childhood Education Kathy Bauer said the value of play as a learning technique was widely recognised by early childhood researchers.
"Australian curriculum literacy outcomes guide teachers on how to measure a child's language development and they're most successfully met through a combination of play and explicit teaching techniques," Ms Bauer said.
"Play-based activities address a range of developmental levels for children and allow them to learn at their own pace and within their own interest areas."
Around 100 youngsters from Good Shepherd Lutheran School and Noosaville Childcare participated in the tasks, which included story interpretation, parachute activities and making musical instruments.
Ms Bauer said the activities were all based on age-appropriate literacy outcomes and benefited both children and adults.
"Each task involves language, reading and fine motor-skills and applies a level of difficulty that suits the particular age group involved," Ms Bauer said.
"They also have aspects that encourage parents and carers to continue to develop their children's skills at home - such as a recipe for play-dough accompanied by a brochure on its benefits as a learning tool."
Ms Bauer said her students also developed skills - including teamwork, leadership and advocacy of early childhood teaching methods - which they would use professionally after graduating later this year.
"We place this course at the end of the students' teaching degrees so that the link between theory and practice is fresh in their minds when they begin teaching," Ms Bauer said.
CQUniversity Early Childhood Education student Nikita Barnett said play-based literacy encouraged self-expression and helped form the basis of a child's future communication skills.
"The early years of education develop a child's ability to identify with language and form the foundation of their communication skills," Ms Barnett said.
"Today's activities involve kids identifying what is happening in the story or task and developing the skills to then communicate their feelings and thoughts about it."
Early Childhood Education is an option within the Bachelor of Learning Management degree and provides pre-service preparation for students aiming to pursue a career as an early childhood teacher or educator.