Gillian Christie’s Play Project

Using weekly blogs to put play at the heart of family learning.

Gillian Christie
Working Party Member
P1 Teacher

Weekly Blogs

The focus for my project is going to be supporting the communication between home and school, by providing our families with play ideas to support learning at home and in turn for our families to share photos of their children engaging in play activities out-with school.

Our school website was used during lockdown for Daily blogs to communicate with our families. Since returning to school in August I have continued to provide a weekly blog with a snapshot of our week, as with current restrictions our parents have been unable to come in and see and experience our environments with their child. I will use my Class Blog as a platform to share our learning with a focus on Play. The children in my class are currently supported to learn through play by following their own interests, by offering a range of open-ended experiences and materials allowing more exploration, and often deeper and more creative learning.

‘Play in all its rich variety is one of the highest achievements of human species, alongside language, culture and technology. Indeed without play none of these other achievements would be possible.’

David Whitebread, 2015

What format will your communication take?

I am going to write a weekly class blog, that will be posted on our class page on the school website.

What content will your communication have?

The blog will share key learning from the week, through photos, videos and capturing the children’s voice. I will highlight the learning and skills the children are demonstrating through their play and will offer further suggestions for activities to extend their learning through play at home.

The blog will also cover key learning in Numeracy and Literacy from the week and offer ways to support our families, to help consolidate this at home. We have already made a few videos for parents to help support Phonics and Reading at home so will now look to create Numeracy videos as well.

Project Progress

The first step in my project was to find out how our class blog was currently being used by our families. I sent out an email outlining my aims for the project and how I intended to develop the current blog. I also sent a follow up survey to gain feedback about the current blog and asked families for ideas/suggestions on the content they would like to see.

Next Steps

The project’s next steps are to:

  • Continue to write weekly blogs on our school website.
  • Have a termly check in/survey – what went well, even better if regarding the blog – gathering children’s and family views.
  • Share the blog with the children to gather children’s voice and include these on the post.
  • Encourage parents to share home learning/play experiences via Learning Journals.
  • Keep track of the usage/views of the blog page.

Covid-19 Caveat

Due to Home Learning our class weekly Blog had to change.
Instead of sharing our Play and Learning from school.

We changed our blog to Magical moments from home- allowing the children to be able to share these with the class.

We predominately used Sway throughout Home Learning and still offered activities to develop Play at Home.

“Play gives children a voice, Play empowers children by putting them in control of their own learning through play children can learn from themselves, their environment and others around them.”

Project Progress

Since returning to school our Weekly Class Blog has resumed. The format of the Blog has been changed to include pupil voice and has a Play section to highlight Play Types or to suggest ideas for continuing a theme/interest/skill at home.

Our class blog highlights the main points of learning from our week, as well as highlighting the importance of Play each week and the value it has and the skills being developed by our children through their Play.

Our blog is a means of communication with our families ,it can also be used to support some children as a discussion point- as I know when asked ‘What did you do at school today?’ the answer from some will be ‘I can’t remember.’

“Play in all it’s rich variety is one of the highest achievements

of the human species, alongside language, culture and

Technology. Indeed without play, none of these other achievements

 would be possible”

David Whitebread

Pupil Voice

Pupil voice is key, and having the children’s input on their learning is extremely important.

Below are a few quotes from children when asked if they had looked at our Blog at home.

‘I did and told my Daddy what I was doing, I was in the Allotment.’

‘Me, I looked at it on my Mummy’s phone.’

‘When I say about our Blog my mum doesn’t look at it’

‘My mum doesn’t have the blog’, then another child said

‘My mum’s not got it either.’

It is clear from viewing our Blog with the children on a Thursday they are keen to talk about what we’ve been doing and spotting themselves to tell their friends what they are doing- now we need to look at getting the children wanting to share/discuss this at home.

When I asked the children what could be done to improve our Blog the children suggested the following:
• ‘We could have ideas for exercises, things to do outside’
• ‘Take photos of pictures and models’
• ‘Gymnastics’
• ‘Building things and taking photos’

Moyles (2015) argues play pedagogy values children’s contributions to their own learning and offers opportunities for children to take ownership of their learning. 

sharing the ambition

Family Feedback

Family feedback was gathered from a questionnaire sent in November to 19 families.

  • I received 5 replies- 2 said they accessed the Blog each week, 3 said they sometimes accessed  it when they remembered.
  • When asked if there was anything in particular they would like to be included in the Blog- nothing further was added.
  • Engagement stats from the Class Blog shows on average 20 views per week, however as our blog is on the school website it may not just be our families accessing.

Next Steps

  • The children could have access to a class i-pad to take their own photos and record their own play experiences to share and have more ownership of our Blog, they currently come and ask to use my I-pad to take a photo.
  • Encourage Home Play experiences to be shared via Learning journals- these could then be shared on the Blog. We could introduce a 2 weekly skill focus- e.g something they’ve build, drew at home, or an outdoor focus etc and celebrate these on our Blog.
  • To send out another Forms questionnaire to gather views for the last term.
  • Look at continuing the Blog via the school website or another means to directly reach our families such as Learning Journals which we currently use as a means of sending observations- with most 2/3 parents accessing to view observations and 1/3 liking or commenting.

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