Wednesday 24 October 2018

Well-being in the Early Years

"How we feel effects how we learn"

Kim Schonert-Reichl

One of the areas of focus this year in Through a Different Lens is on Well-Being.  We are working with educators in two different series: Changing Results for Young Children with early childhood, Strong Start and Kindergarten educators in  SD67, SD53, SenPokChin, Outma Sqilx'w Cultural School and Little Paws; and a Well-being Series with educators from K- grade 5 in Sd67.

We started both series with Dr. Jane Bertrand, the author of the new BC Resource on Play.  She described how play is so important for well-being in children, youth and adults; and that play is important to children and they learn a great deal from it.

Mental Health issues over the past 50 years have increased, while free play has decreased.  Though it is not cause-effect it is important to look at.  Children no longer have the same kind of time they need to figure things out with peers, use their imagination, explore new territory, make up their own rules and structures.
 Dr. Jane Bertrand is an international researcher on the pedagogy of play which is explained in the new BC resource called "Play Today: BC Handbook" which can be found on-line at

The pedagogy of play is important as we think about the opportunities we provide for children in our settings.  Do we always organize the play?  Do we have specific outcomes in mind?   When we plan for free-play, what kinds of things do we want to observe?  How much are we providing for experiences that foster child-directed play, educator guided and educator directed play?

This summer I had the chance to watch our family's kids and grandkids (ages 3-7) play on the beach with wood that had drifted in when the water was high.  I watched the wood be used for a fort one day, a store the next, then a boat, a fence, a kitchen, a playground … each day it transformed into something different depending whatever the group decided, or sometimes the child with the strongest views.  It was intriguing and delightful.  It went on some days for merely minutes, and hours on other days.  This is free play; negotiations, hands-on, busy, active, fun, problem solving and child-directed.

Submitted by Judith King, SD67