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Where Will Learning Take Us?

How does learning happen in PLASP programs? What does it look like from the child’s perspective?

At a recent PLASP Board of Directors meeting and development session, PLASP Curriculum Manager Diane Phu, had the opportunity to share with board members the curriculum being used in PLASP programs. This curriculum supports the How Does Learning Happen? pedagogy from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

“The curriculum in our programs is play-based, creative and child-centred,” said Diane. “We wanted to capture these qualities in our presentation to the board, while also letting them experience what it’s actually like in our programs when curriculum is organically occurring.”

To accomplish this, Diane teamed up with PLASP Communications Coordinator Tawny Barratt, to visit programs with a video camera to capture footage of the children to show to the board of directors. “We wanted to spark children's interest by doing something different,” explained Tawny. “So we brought a GoPro video camera into the program and let the children operate it, either by wearing it on their heads or chest, or in the case of the younger children, by strapping it to a remote control car. At the same time, we recorded video of the children reacting to something unexpected happening in the program.”

In the Early Learning and Child Care Centre, the toddler and preschoolers expressed curiousity about the GoPro strapped to the remote control car. They were very quick to wonder what it was and could they get a closer look?

In the preschool room, the children asked a number of questions about the GoPro and the remote control car:

  • What is it?
  • What does it do?
  • Is it a motor?
  • Is it a robot?
  • Is there a motor inside?
  • Can it move?
  • Can it break?

“We know in emergent curriculums that great ideas come from the children,” said Diane. “The questions they ask their educators drives the curriculum. Educators, plan learning activities based on the children’s interests, questions and observations.”

In the school age programs, the older children appeared excited by the opportunity to wear the GoPro, either on their head or on their chest. We were eager to see what would happen when they entered a program, wearing the GoPro. Like in the Early Learning and Child Care Centre, the school age children were curious and reacted with many questions. While the younger children inquired as to WHAT it was, the older children were more interested in the WHY, for example, “why is he/she wearing that?”

“What's truly unique about a play-based curriculum is that no two programs will look the same,” said Diane. “What's interesting and unfolding in one program could be very different in another, because the curriculum is not predetermined or preset. It is customizable and responds to the needs and interests of children.”

PLASP Board President Sherry Fodor commented about the presentation, saying that “this was such a great opportunity for us to experience what is happening in PLASP programs – through the eyes of the children! Learning more about the curriculum used in PLASP – and how it supports the Ontario Ministry of Education’s How Does Learning Happen? pedagogy - gives us a better understanding of the quality of the programs and how hard our staff work with our children to create an environment that is play-based, child-centered and educational. As a board, we continue to be very impressed by the work that PLASP does.”

“By introducing the GoPro to the program, we planted a seed,” Diane said. "Now it’s up to the staff and children on how they’re going to drive the learning. Where will learning take us? The possibilities are limitless.”

To learn more about How Does Learning Happen? visit the Ministry of Education website.

To understand more about How Does Learning Happen? and play-based learning in PLASP programs, visit our “learning” page here and watch videos from our program.

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