Learning Through Play, STEAM and Makerspace

Tākaro akoranga me hautūtanga (pūtaiao, hangarau, metarahi, mahi toi, pāngarau)
通过游戏; 科学;技术;工程;艺术;数学 和创建空间学习

Through a range of authentic contexts we provide students with opportunities to explore and discover the world around them using their own passions and motivations. Students are encouraged to ask deep questions, research their findings, collaborate with others, discuss in depth and present their ideas to others using a range of equipment, resources and approaches.

Students begin their early years discovering about the world around them through play as a context, they then move in to Discovery Time which leads them to question and wonder about the world in which they live. They then move into STEAM activities using Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths as a context and then move to Makerspace where students pose their own problems and questions to explore and use many forums to develop and deliver their findings.

Learning Through Play

Links to NZC

Learning through Play supports the development of several values and key competencies identified in our National Curriculum that we strive to teach our children; these include innovation, inquiry, curiosity, respect, critical thinking, managing self, relating to others, participation and contributing. Almost all of these can be developed through play-based activities.


Our approach to Learning Through Play is based around research from Longworth Education which includes the following principles:

  • Learning through Play is a developmental approach to a child's learning.
  • Learning through Play acknowledges that the child is in control of their own learning.
  • The teacher supports, scaffolds and gifts new knowledge using intentional teaching methods.
  • Learning occurs through a process of curiosity and inquiry, and as such cannot be segregated into isolated subject areas.
  • The learner should be given opportunities to develop an empathy, a sense of belonging and a connection with their outside environment.

We believe that learning unfolds naturally as children interact with the world around them (Longworth Education Philosophy)
See : The Power of Play and “Play in the Classroom” for further research.

Play is an important approach for 3 – 7 year olds. As well as encouraging children to think creatively, develop their imagination, explore, invent, develop critical thinking, manage themselves, negotiate and work in groups, children become intrinsically motivated through a Learning through play approach. A Learning through Play approach makes the transition to school easier for children, parents and teachers in their first year, less stressful, and allows the teacher to get to know the learner in an environment where they are at ease.


An environment is set up both within and outside the classroom that encourages the different types of play such as fantasy play. For example, a role play area that follows the interests of the children like a rocket ship for space adventures, or a construction area where the children might want to make a rocket. Teachers provide provocations to cater for all developmental stages of play. They also have an active role as a coach, and assist the children with their learning by giving them constructive feedback and using questioning to extend their play.

Parents are able to share what is happening during Learning Through Play via our Seesaw blog.


Not an exhaustive list

Physical Equipment
Skipping ropes
Variety of balls and bats
Dinosaur feet
Large trolley
PMP equipment
Playground equipment e.g. monkey bars
Cooking equipment
Fine motor resources - threading, lacing, weaving, cutting

Role Play Equipment
Sandpit Shop Kitchen
Role play costumes and accessories
Role play areas

Construction Equipment
Junk modelling boxes, joining materials e.g. sellotape, PVA, stapler
Construction equipment e.g. wooden blocks, mobilo, duplo

Malleable Materials / Messy Play
Play dough
Shaving foam

STEAM / Makerspace

Links to NZC

Technology is intervention by design.

Technology Curriculum
Science Curriculum
Maths Curriculum
Art Curriculum

Key Competencies
Thinking, participating and contributing, managing self, relating to others, using language, symbols and text


  • STEAM is Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths
  • Students develop learning dispositions and key competencies
  • Develop learner agency
  • Experience authentic learning from the task they choose
  • Integrating subject areas to promote learning opportunities
  • Builds across the school from Learning through Play in Year 1, STEAM in Years 2-4, and MAKER SPACE in Year 5-6


  • Provocations given in Learning through Play in NE/Y1
  • In Years 2-4 students have the opportunity to make choices about what they would like to investigate. The provocations set out by the teachers cover the STEAM areas. They are given key questions as a prompt to help their thinking during these sessions. These questions are often based on key competencies and learning dispositions. Each Monday the students come together and the mission for the week is discussed. This is linked to the class focus or has a focus on a key competency. Reflection is important so 30 minutes of reflection, using Seesaw, is part of the weekly programme.
  • In Years 5-6 we have a Maker Space session, and the focus is that all students will make something. A design thinking process guides the students through this. Some design briefs are scaffolded by the teacher and moving towards student agency. Students reflect on their level of collaboration and how their project went each week through a Seesaw post. Teachers assess levels of collaboration and take anecdotal notes.


Design Thinking in Schools (used in Year 6 Makerspace programme)
STEAM presentation

Picture books to support STEAM

Rosie Revere’s Big Project For Bold Engineers - 40+ things to invent, draw and make