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PLAY IS THE WAY® is a social and emotional learning (SEL) methodology using:

  • Physically interactive, games and activities that both require and develop personal and social capabilities as they are being played.

  • Five guiding concepts that serve as a moral compass and help children to do what they believe is right and best to do. When embedded, these concepts prevent children from drowning in life and learning – hence, they are aptly called Life Raft concepts.

  • An empowering self-reflective language that helps children to master their behaviour in preparation for a responsible life in a free and democratic society.

  • Six key virtues we call our Pathway To Empathy virtues. When understood, practised and habituated, these virtues result in people of strong character and empathy. (See below)

It is a philosophy of behaviour education that fosters independent, self-managing, self-motivated, empathetic, life-long learners.

PLAY IS THE WAY® gives primary schools a way to develop, improve and embed the personal and social capabilities of students and is suitable for primary school children of all ages, abilities and ethnic backgrounds. No particular sporting or athletic ability is required to benefit from the process.

Requiring minimum, readily available games equipment and just one set of resource manuals for each classroom teacher, PLAY IS THE WAY® is an affordable SEL methodology with the flexibility to adapt to the individual needs and circumstances of classrooms and schools.

The manuals effectively guide teachers in the facilitation of the games, the embedding of the guiding concepts and the use of the self-reflective language. 

The games program is a cross-curricular tool for SEL.  Typically, students participate in 4 x 30 minute games sessions per week for every week of the school year, for every year of primary school.

PLAY IS THE WAY® has proved itself in a wide variety of Australian, New Zealand and Canadian primary schools and is ideally suited to a whole school approach and commitment to social and emotional learning.

Is PLAY IS THE WAY® the right fit for your school?

A common profile of PLAY IS THE WAY® schools are ones that:

  • have a whole school, long term commitment to the development of positive social behaviour to assist and benefit learning and life.
  • understand the value of play as a brain compatible way of learning. 
  • add PLAY IS THE WAY® into curriculum and not onto it, by creating a whole school culture that supports social and emotional learning.
  • accept that crucial to the whole process is the role modelling by all staff of adult behaviour that exemplifies social and emotional competency.
  • have staff willing to step out of their personal comfort zones to acquire new skills and capabilities.
  • find ways and means to build or improve the working partnership with parents and carers so they can support and assist the social and emotional development of students.
  • understand that schools are the hubs of communities and the agents for positive change within communities. They are not the victims of their clientele and actively demonstrate the meaning of community by the manner in which their students and staff live and learn within the school grounds.
  • create a safe and supportive staff room in which discussion, opinion, difficulties, successes, concerns and queries can be openly aired and help freely asked for.

Why Games?

The PLAY IS THE WAY® games and activities assist teachers to guide children beyond the simple pleasures of playing games to the character building benefits that can be achieved.

Guided by informed teachers/facilitators:

  1. Our games help children to develop and habituate patterns of behaviour that are personally advantageous and culturally appropriate.
  2. By playing our games children initiate a process of self-awareness and discovery. They create a shared body of experience that is used to build up relationships within the group and to develop the group.
  3. Our games create a common awareness and language with which to discuss the processes of human action and interaction. They encourage empathy, respect and an appreciation of difference.
  4. Our games engage children’s emotions and call for mastery and control of those emotions to achieve success. By being challenging, the games develop self-motivation and perseverance. They help children to identify the reasons for failure and foster optimism and resilience.
  5. Our games encourage children to use their skills to advantage others in the pursuit of common objectives. They strengthen the skills of teamwork and cooperation and help children to manage relationships.
  6. Our games improve the social, emotional, physical and mental health of children.
  7. Our games act as metaphors, similes and analogies for life and by playing these games children hone the skills that help them to live, learn, work and play well.
  8. Our games assist children to control impulsive behaviour and control the need for immediate gratification as they strive for long term benefits and goals.
  9. Our games teach children to respond appropriately to the thrill of success and the disappointment of failure. To enjoy competition with good grace and consideration for the other side.
  10. Because they require effort and application, our games help children to understand the value of process in the pursuit of success.
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