Planned and Spontaneous Play

Planned and Spontaneous Play

18 March 2021

Intentional teaching involves Educators being thoughtful, purposeful and deliberate in their decisions and actions. Educators invite children to share their interests and ideas, identify opportunities to support children to become involved in play, and build on interests and ideas that they observe that day.

The Early Childhood Education Curriculum, Te Whāriki, notes “children learn through play: by doing, asking questions, interacting with others, devising theories about how things work and then trying them out and by making purposeful use of resources.”

For young children to gain knowledge, skills and attitudes needed for life-long learning and contribution to society, New Zealand and international research highlights the need for a balance between spontaneous child-initiated play and planned learning.

Spontaneous play is easy to recognise when children interact with their environment, resources and people around them without the planned guidance of a teacher/kaiako.  Children decide for themselves how and when the play will occur and make decisions about how the play will evolve.  Planned or intentional teaching is when kaiako are clear about what they are trying to achieve and then deliberately reflect on the actions they can take to help children achieve the intended outcome.

An Education Review Office (ERO) report notes "children need opportunities to initiate activities and follow their interests, but teachers are not passive during these [child] initiated and directed activities. Similarly, children should be actively engaged and responsive during teacher-initiated and directed activities. Good teachers help support the child's learning in both types of activities."

At Nurtured at Home, Visiting Teachers work with and alongside Educators and whānau to ensure each child’s interests and ideas are recognised, planned for, and celebrated through both planned and spontaneous opportunities. This is captured via stories in each child’s scrapbook and through ongoing communication with families.