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St. Patrick's Primary School Mullanaskea, Garvary, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh

Learning through Play



1. The best way to prepare children for their adult life is to give

them what they need as children

2. Children are whole people who have feelings, ideas and

relationships with others, and who need to be physically,

mentally, morally and spiritually healthy.

3. Subjects such as mathematics and art cannot be separated;

young children learn in an integrated way and not in neat,

tidy compartments.

4. Children learn best when they are given appropriate

responsibility, allowed to make errors, decisions and choices,

and respected as autonomous learners.

5. Self-discipline is emphasised. Indeed, this is the only kind of

discipline worth having. Reward systems are very short-term

and do not work in the long-term. Children need their efforts

to be valued.

6. There are times when children are especially able to learn

particular things.

7. What children can do (rather that what they cannot do) is the

starting point of a child’s education.

8. Imagination, creativity and all kinds of symbolic behaviour

(reading, writing, drawing, dancing, music, mathematical

numbers, algebra, role play and talking) develop and emerge

when conditions are favourable.

9. Relationships with other people (both adults and children) are

of central importance in a child’s life.

10. Quality education is about three things: the child, the context

in which learning takes place, and the knowledge and

understanding which the child develops and learns.

Tina Bruce

These principles underpin our Early Years curriculum and guide our planning. Well-planned and well-resourced play activities which allow for progression in a child’s thinking and understanding can provide the context in which these principles become the reality for all our children. (Taken from N.I.C)


Both outdoor and indoor play is fully developed throughout the school. The school has a wide range of play equipment.We are fortunate to have a well developed outdoor classroom area for the whole school to utilise. In the last two years, a designated outdoor play area was laid with soft play and equipped with outdoor play equipment. The Foundation Stage classes use this area on a weekly basis.

Indoor Play

learning Through Play  is well planned and monitored within the foundation stage. Progressing on from this, Activity Based Learning is developed in Key Stage One. Planned play activities include the following areas:- dramatic, sand, water, dough, table top, small world, construction and creative play.

Outdoor Play

The outdoor area in St Patrick's is seen as an extension of the classroom and is a valuable teaching and learning environment. Children are encouraged to explore their environment,relive experiences and learn through movement and physical activity;developing fine and gross motor skills along with co- ordination and balance.

The outdoor area provides young children with one of the best possible environments in which to learn. Any adult who has watched children playing in a well planned and well resourced outdoor area with involved adults will have observed the joy and excitement theyexperience as they learn new skills and make fresh discoveries.

“the best kept classroom and the richest

cupboard are roofed only by the sky”

Margaret McMillan (c1925)

Nursery Schools and the Pre-school Child NSA Publication (Taken from N.I.C)