Ontario schools on the right track with play-based learning- ETFO

Ultimate Block Party celebrates first year of province's full-day kindergarten

TORONTO, June 5, 2011 /CNW/ - Ontario public elementary schools are on the right track by having play-based learning as the focus for the province's new full-day kindergarten, according to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

"The research evidence is clear that play-based learning fosters creativity, initiative, collaboration and problem-solving," said ETFO President Sam Hammond at The Ultimate Block Party, a free celebration of play which attracted thousands of families and children in Toronto today. "We're celebrating the first year's completion of this important educational initiative with the biggest play date ever."

ETFO gathered 25 educational partners to develop play centres at the Ultimate Block Party to showcase how adventure play and construction play, language and creative play, make believe and physical play relate to children's brain development. Mountains of LEGO® bricks, kilos of clay, dress-up costumes, robotics, and musical instruments were the focus of play activities presented by partners including the Ontario Science Centre, Art Gallery of Ontario, Royal Ontario Museum, Scientists in School, Right To Play, TVOKids, Canadian Tire Jumpstart, and Imagination Playground.

"Our goal is to have parents understand that play is the work of children and that it fuels their brain development," added Hammond. "That's true for children through all elementary grade levels. Play is about developing innovation, creativity, and other skills to help children succeed in life."

ETFO has developed a playbook full of information, resources and activities for families to play at home. Called "My Playbook", it's available for free online at www.ultimateblockparty.ca.

A leading advocate for the science of play, ETFO has also developed a significant body of professional learning for teachers and early childhood educators to develop and implement play-based curriculum in Ontario elementary public school classrooms.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information:

Valerie Dugale, ETFO Media Relations: Cell: 416-948-0195, vdugale@etfo.org

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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