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Whitehouse Primary School enjoys a Winter Wonderland of Play…

Approximately 90 Foundation Stage pupils from Whitehouse Primary School took part in an Early Years play experience before Christmas to celebrate ‘Playful Learning in Action’ at Stranmillis University College. As part of their assessment for the 'Implementing a play-based curriculum' module, our PGCE students were challenged with transforming the Early Years Centre into a Christmas themed play workshop for an hour of festive fun with P1/P2 children. PGCE student Lauren Killough reflects on the experience:

'The PGCE students were split into groups of five, with each group tasked with organising five activities to cover different areas of the Foundation Stage curriculum. Each student was responsible for planning a different play area activity, providing the necessary resources, setting it up and managing the activity with the children. The groups also worked together to decorate the entire room - the Early Years Centre looked like a Winter Wonderland by the time the children arrived!

All of the children were enchanted with the playful learning experiences and they had lots of fun in the process - as did all of the PGCE students! Some of the exciting activities included wrapping presents, making reindeer food, a sensory hot chocolate experience, reading Christmas stories, and making playdough cookies and edible snowmen! The play workshops provided a fun-filled morning for the children and it certainly got everyone into the festive spirit for Christmas. We would like to say a massive thank you to the staff at Whitehouse Primary School for bringing the children to Stranmillis to take part in our three play workshops.  We hope the children had as much fun playing and taking part in them as we did planning them!'

 “Using play as a medium to bring learning to life ensures young people feel motivated and confident when learning, and it injects a degree of playfulness into that learning experience,” said Jill Magennis, lecturer in Early Years Education, who organised the event. “The PG students put a lot of thought and effort into planning these experiences in a wonderful Winter Wonderland and it is great to see the children putting key skills for educational achievement into practice.”

The success of the three days with Whitehouse Primary School was also echoed by Dr Glenda Walsh, Head of Early Years Education: “This is such a worthwhile learning opportunity for the students, for the children themselves and for the Foundation Stage teachers who accompanied the children. It is so rewarding to see high quality playful learning experiences in action, where playing, learning and teaching all become fully synchronised.”

Whitehouse have added some comments and more photos on their web site at the link below:

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