Understanding play-based learning at home and in the classroom

Understanding play-based learning at home and in the classroom

Play is one of the most important ways kids learn things like language skills, problem solving, coordination and motor skills, and even math. In fact, Canada’s education ministers have issued a statement noting that, “purposeful play-based early learning sets the stage for future learning, health and well-being.”

Many licensed child care centres, Best Start Hubs and early learning kindergarten programs are now offering play-based programs where educators help children learn through exploration and play. 

In these settings, teachers and early childhood educators foster discovery and creativity, and a wide range of play-based activities focused on children’s interests and abilities. Here, educators are more likely to observe and encourage children, and have conversations with individuals and small groups than instructing the entire class.

This type of classroom may not be what parents remember from their own kindergarten or daycare years. It may even be different from the experience of their older children. But, based on an increasing body of evidence, play-based learning is helping to reshape early childhood education in our own community and in communities across the country.

Get your child involved in a play-based licensed childcare, EarlyON or full day kindergarten program near you.

EarlyON Centres and early learning kindergarten programs are free. If you’re interested in licensed childcare, find out if your family qualifies for a child care subsidy.

Here are some ideas about how families can support their kids’ play. And, here are more examples of how parents can join in and encourage their kids to play.

Finally, check out this informative story to learn how play is linked to a child’s brain development.


This content was prepared and reviewed by the City of Greater Sudbury and its partners. However, it should not take the place of advice from your health care provider or other professionals working with you and your child. 

Notice a broken link or an error or omission in this content? Email beststart@greatersudbury.ca to let us know.