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About Us

Pla(y)ce based learning is a pedagogical approach that fuses play and place-based learning. Pla(y)ce-based learning integrates elements of each of these pedagogies through through the taking on of roles, using props, costumes, and context-specific narratives.

The purpose of a pla(y)ce based experience is to allow students to engage and interact with an environment they would not typically be able to due to factors such as limited access to appropriate space, limited time, lack of teacher knowledge and confidence, lack of resources (including funding and materials), curriculum demands, safety concerns, lack of support from colleagues (Miller, et al., 2022, p. 3180), tight schedules and lack of available budget (Leydon & Turner, 2013, pp. 248-256).


Play-based simulation allows participants to undergo a first-hand experience relating to realistic events, problems and interactions, all while being contained in a psychologically and physically safe space (Theelen, van den Beemt, den Brok, 2019, p. 17). Through integrated roles, props, scenarios, costumes, etc., participants can actively develop new academic knowledge and inter- and intra-personal skills (Theelen, van den Beemt, den Brok, 2019, p. 17; Clapper, 2010, p. 39).

Example of a Pla(y)ce-Based Experience

For example, if a teacher had a class of students who love to build, the drama center could be set up as a construction site. Students could be engineers or construction workers working to build a city. Students could play and meet curriculum objectives by building 2D and 3D buildings, drawing blueprints to scale, or counting the amount of material they need (McCormick & Twitchell, 2017, p. 342). Suppose students are working on specific measurement skills. In that case, teachers could integrate playful learning into the experience by implementing a height restriction on buildings and having students measure or compare the height of their buildings.


Students could also explore math concepts such as surface area by adding windows or doors to their skyscrapers or buildings with different shapes (McCormick & Twitchell, 2017, p. 345). With these integrations, the play experience becomes a site of intentional teaching where academic outcomes influence the play narrative (Pyle & Danniels, 2017, p. 284). The play experience could then continue cross-disciplinary, and the block city could become the scene of a drama performance, the setting of a written story, or the subject of someone's art. Someone's city has now become not only a site for meeting mathematics curriculum but has become a fully immersive play-based learning experience rooted in pretend play and curriculum.

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