Promoting the value of learning through play

Doha Learning Days workshop addresses benefits of play for children and adults

Research has shown that play is not only integral to children’s development, but also brings benefits that last into adulthood, such as increasing people’s positivity and productivity.

The Education Development Institute (EDI) has hosted an immersive learning experience called Teachers, Let’s Play!, designed to introduce teachers in Qatar to different ways of playing within the classroom, and addressing the benefits of incorporating play as a learning tool.

The workshop was part of WISE’s inaugural Doha Learnings Days Festival which is taking place in Education City from November 14-19 � and was led by Ghada Haddad Maalouf, Head of IB?Training at EDI, part Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education.

Play is a necessity, said Ms. Maalouf. People who do not play can suffer from depression, and tend to be less engaged in their work and in their family life.

Nowadays, more and more offices are offering play spaces within work, developing the idea of what it means to be playful. The whole concept of play being only for children is not true, play is needed for everyone, so that any person � including adults � can lead a more positive life, and be less affected by the negativity and stress of life.

The overall aim of this workshop is for the teachers to experience play themselves. This will help these teachers understand that, by going through this experience, learning is taking place in a much better, deeper way, than non-play.

The workshop brought together teachers from different schools across the country, including Sherborne Qatar and SEK International School Qatar.

Maire Costello, from Ireland, said: I attended the workshop as I’d like to learn different approaches to incorporate play into planning, so that is has a purpose; how to integrate it into your planning on a day-to-day basis, and not just saying, ‘OK, now we play’, but setting up an environment for play and situations where play can be rich. Essentially you’re provoking different types of play � almost semi-structured play.

Khadine Richards-Carberry, from London, said: I wanted to pick up interesting tips, techniques, and strategies to help my students and help their creativity.

Play helps children to explore and express themselves. There are different ways of learning, as children are different, so I think it is a useful tool to learn other concepts. And, to children, it doesn’t feel like a lesson – they’re not necessarily aware that they’re learning, as they get caught up in the winning or the excitement of it.

Alongside Teachers, Let’s Play!, EDI is hosting sessions throughout the festival that aim to develop teachers’ skills around holistic education. Through play and imagination, children can be introduced to difficult concepts across science, math, and language subjects.

Source: Qatar Foundation