Play-Based Learning

Many childcare providers talk about ‘play-based learning’. But what does it actually mean?

In its simplest form, learning through play encourages children to build their knowledge, develop confidence and embrace curiosity. Along the way they naturally refine practical life skills as they explore, experiment, discover and solve problems through play. And importantly, they build their confidence and come to understand that learning is fun and can take many forms.

At Guardian, children are guided by their natural interests and curiosities, while being supported to make meaningful connections to the real-world. We don’t believe in learning through repetition or the isolated recognition of numbers and letters. We teach in real-world contexts to set your child up for success.

  • We build sandcastles and explore why wet sand and dry sand behave differently.
  • We bake and have conversations about why things go into the oven cold and wet and come out hot and dry.
  • We grow herbs and vegetables and learn about the natural world around us.

Our practices and programs, while based in play, prepare your child for formal schooling and beyond. We’re not just about preparing them for school, but for life – because learning is a journey that never ends. And the world is changing before their very eyes.


“Many small people, in small places, doing small things can change the world.”
Eduardo Galeano

Gardening Experiences for Children

“Why do the leaves go brown after they fall off the tree?”

Garden settings allow for observation, research and communicating ideas with Teachers and peers, which has outstanding educational benefits. Children think critically, learn social skills, collaborate, have fun, and develop self-confidence by spending time in nature, tending plants and growing their own food.

Cooking Experiences for Children

“Why does a cake go into the oven wet, but come out dry?”

Educating children about the importance of healthy eating and good nutrition is an important part of early childhood development. But more than that, cooking can be a great teaching opportunity for mathematical concepts like measuring, mixing and pouring. It encourages teamwork, sharing, critical thinking and creativity.

Sandpit Experiences for Children

“Why do the wet sand stick and the dry sand fall?”

Outdoor play encourages children to learn, explore, discover, exercise and enjoy themselves in the fresh air and connect with nature. Sandpit play encourages critical thinking when experimenting with the structural properties of sand; teamwork in digging, carrying and moving sand; and communication through mark-making.

Childcare Excursions

“What happens in the world outside when I’m at school?”

Excursions allow children to interact with the world around them, learn road safety, gives them the chance to interact with their local community and strengthen their friendships. Excursions promote great social and emotional development by expanding a child’s horizons beyond the Centre and their home.

Little People in a Big World

Our children of today will face a different world, requiring more of them than ABCs and 123s. They must learn to be innovative and adaptable – to think creatively and critically. They are entering a fast-paced, rapidly changing world, where technology rules and the traditional methods of teaching are no longer as effective.

And that’s why our approach is focused on the latest research and insights into how children learn best, focusing in on the specific skills they will need to thrive in the 21st Century.
We don’t promote a one-size-fits-all approach to education. Instead, we focus on the individual child and their unique approach to learning through open-ended resources and play-based experiences.


When a child is using open-ended resources, they are free to use their creativity and imagination. There is no right or wrong way, and no set end point to the play. A set of wooden blocks is a good example: One moment it’s a pirate ship sailing the high seas; the next moment a maze or puzzle to be solved. Open-ended resources inspire curiosity and support discovery – the building blocks for successful lifelong learning. 


At Guardian we work to develop skills that will help your child thrive in a rapidly changing world, through encouraging:

  • Creativity and innovation
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Communication
  • Resilience
  • Confidence and self-assurance.

Our learning programs help to develop these skills in a variety of ways, and that’s why, at Guardian, playtime is more than just play.

What Learning Looks Like
at Different Ages

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