Using Seesaw to put play at the heart of family learning.
Learning through play is central to life in Primary One. For my Professional enquiry project I have chosen to share the importance of play with families through my use of our online learning platform Seesaw. To do this I will use Seesaw to increase communication with families, with a particular focus on the value of play.
What format will your communication take?A weekly blog post on my class’ P1 Teams channel.
- Families will receive a weekly update from me on Seesaw
- Photos will be posted on Seesaw twice a week showing families some of the play their children have been engaged in that week
- Initial project letter and survey for families
What content will your communication have?
The weekly updates will be at the end of my working week, (I am jobshare and work Monday-Wednesday) and will give the families a brief overview of the adult led learning that has taken place that week but will also focus on the types of play that I have observed in class.
Photos on Seesaw will be posted once a week by me and once by my jobshare partner. A brief description of the play will also be posted, using the child’s voice as much as possible. I will aim to include what each child is learning through his/her play as part of this description.
The survey for families with accompanying project letter will provide an introduction to the project and seek to get the views of families’ on the value of play. I will ask for families’ suggestions on how I can support them to develop their understanding of play in Primary One.
As a school we were already using Seesaw to share learning with families and we have had high levels of engagement with this. Sharing photos of the children playing has been received well by parents with almost all families accessing these regularly and a number of parents commenting on the photos each week. For a number of families this is becoming a two way platform with them sharing photos and videos of what is happening at home too. I have started short weekly updates in the form of a video each Wednesday but I am finding most of this is taken up by sharing the adult led learning with the play that I have observed being an add on. This is something that I want to address next term.
- Monitor engagement with Seesaw and support families to access the weekly updates and photos of their child at play
- Focus on what the children are learning through their play instead of merely providing a brief description to go with Seesaw photos
- Continue to provide weekly updates but with more emphasis on the child led play that has happened as well as adult led learning
- Send out survey to parents to get their views on the value of play and ideas on ways to develop their understanding of play in Primary One.
- Continue to undertake professional reading on the value of play in Primary One
The second lockdown from January to mid February and a further period of online learning for my class has meant that my play project has been delayed at times. This however did give me a bit more time to think carefully about my project and the survey to families I wanted to put out for example.
Since we have been back in the classroom I have resumed the weekly updates and continued to share photos of the children at play in the classroom with a brief description, both via our online learning platform.
The survey to families went out via Microsoft Forms asking for their views on play and ways I could support their understanding of “learning through play”. Finally, inspired by the Sharing the Ambition Family Zone, I have started to share observations of one of the play types described by Bob Hughes as referenced on the Play Scotland website. I am doing this each week and using Thinglink to do so.
Each term we carry out “learning conversations” with the children.
These are 1:1 conversations where we take time to discuss how each child is getting on in literacy and numeracy, encourage and support self assessment and gather the child’s view on different aspects of school. This term I asked the children what they liked about our online learning platform, specifically related to the photos and stories I share from the classroom not the online learning from lockdown.
Here are some of the responses:-
“I like the photos.”
“I like looking and seeing all the stuff I’ve done.”
“I don’t really go on it.”
“I like letting my Mummy see because she can’t come to the classroom and see how I am doing things.”
After the most recent lockdown I sent out a brief survey to gather the families’ views on play in Primary One.
Out of a class of 23 I received 10 responses. From the responses it was clear that these families valued play in Primary One, 8 out of 10 respondents selecting 5 on the sliding scale which stated play as being “very important”. (The scale only went up to 5)
The remaining two respondents selected 4 on the sliding scale. Most of the respondents also felt quite confident about their understanding of a play based classroom with 6 of the respondents selecting 4 or 5 on the sliding scale with 5 representing a full understanding.
Only 1 respondent chose 2 which represented little understanding.
When the families were asked what they thought children learned through their play there was a wide range of responses but social skills, problem solving skills, regulating emotions and communication skills came up again and again.
The final question asked for ideas on other ways to support families’ understanding of a play based approach to learning, Here are some of the responses:-
“I think you are already doing a lot and we really appreciate it – thank you! The pictures and comments about what the children have been doing and how this links to aspects of their learning are great, and it is interesting to read / hear the weekly updates.”
“Nothing I can think of, the info is very helpful thanks.”
“Reference to any appropriate frameworks.”
In terms of engagement the weekly updates are being accessed by the vast majority of families each week. Most families are also looking at the photos of their child’s play each week and the majority of families have left at least one comment across the time my project has been running for.
A small group of families – about 7 comment on these every week. Some families have given spontaneous feedback on my project in these comments:
“I love seeing what x is up to during her day.”
“As a parent of an older child in the school I love being able to see what x is up to,as this was never an option with y in his early years. These little photos and quotes tell the story of their play so well.“
My Thinglink observations of the different play types have received, on average, 15 views each week. (I have only shared 4 of these so far though!)
The next steps for my project are:
- Continue to share the weekly updates, play type observations and photos of the children engaged in significant episodes of play.
- Continue to monitor engagement from the families and try to think of ways to improve this, for example sharing these straight after school, if time allows, rather than in the evening.
- Involve the children more by showing and discussing with them the photos and observations I am sharing with families. I try to do this but often run out of time at the end of the day!
- Share appropriate frameworks with families as asked for in the survey responses.