Implementing a learning games library to support children’s development

Working in partnership with Berry Street, Our Place Morwell has implemented a free learning games library for families.

Co-desinged response to community needs

The learning games library is helping to address one of the sitewide priorities identified by the Our Place Morwell Site Partnership Group, which relates to simplifying how families receive information about child development. Providing families with this insight also helps to ensure that children within the community grow up healthy and happy.

Engaging activities to encourage learning

The learning games library consists of an extensive collection of activities and games that are suitable for children aged 0-5. Our Place has ensured that each activity or game includes clear and easily accessible information about how to play each game and also offers simple explanations about how these games can assist children’s development.

Families can help themselves to the games and have access to the library all day, every day throughout the week. Kathy, an Our Place Community Facilitator who has a background in early education, is also available at designated times to encourage families to access the library and is able to assist with choosing games. There is no limit on how many games a family can choose, and they are able to keep the games should they wish to.

Using evidenced based research

Earlier in the year, and as part of the Berry Street Morwell4Kids program, a parent information session was held on site. This information session aimed to inform parents about the benefits of learning games on child development, and each family that attended received a complimentary selection of learning games to take home and keep.

Following on from this information session, Our Place and Berry Street’s Evidence Based Program Facilitator continued to collaborate around exploring future opportunities to promote the benefits of learning games whilst also supporting families to have access to such games. This then grew to having a goal of creating a learning games library.

All games within the library follow the highly regarded Abecedarian approach. This approach was chosen based on the Evidence Based Program Facilitator’s experience with the approach and acknowledging that it aligned with what the learning games library was setting out to achieve. As per the Abecedarian approach, each game and activity strongly focuses on rich and reciprocal language opportunities for children and can also aid in reaching developmental milestones.

One example of an available game is a ‘hiding and finding’ game, which is suitable for children aged 0-1. The pack parents can take home to play this game includes a toy and instructions that ask them to hide the toy and help the children find it. Through this game, parents and carers learn about the concept of object permanence (a developmental milestone that is achieved when a child has learnt that when an object cannot be seen, it has not entirely disappeared). Playing the game also helps parents and carers to assist their child in reaching this developmental milestone.  

Aligning with the Our Place Approach

This is an example of the Our Place evidence based element High quality early learning, health and development. This element is crucial to the Our Place approach as the evidence indicates that access to high-quality early learning in early childhood education and care settings, together with strong early years services and supports, predicts later academic success, particularly for children experiencing disadvantage.

In this example, Our Place is working in partnership with the on site Early Learning Centre and partner organisation Berry Street to support positive home learning environments. Our Place supports this initiative by engaging the community and increasing their awareness of and access to free home learning resources. Supporting families to access these resources is crucial as the evidence also indicates that early learning services and other supports enable a positive home learning environment through relationships and role-modelling.