how we learn

What should children be doing all day?

At Shere School we believe that the best learning is built on a foundation of child-led, open-ended, extended play. As natural players, children start from a point of intrinsic desire to be involved and motivated in their play.

Children are already competent and capable explorers, hypothesisers and seekers of learning and knowledge. At Newlands schools we will tune into their existing world of play, hook into their ideas, thoughts and interests and use these to teach, we call this ‘teachable moments’.

At Shere School we believe that child led, open ended play and playful learning leads to:

The development of imaginative and symbolic play.

Co-construction of thinking and scaffolding.

More opportunities for sustained shared thinking.

An increase in children’s thinking, especially metacognition.

The development of possibility, thinking and growth mind-set.

The development of mastery; cognitive self-regulation and persistence.

Deeper levels of engagement and flow of thinking.

The recognition of the child’s voice and marking of their ideas and interest.

In the Early Years

Play is our primary pedagogy and we ensure that children can lead their own play without interruption.


In Year One

Extended child-initiated play, coupled with the provision of teacher initiated direct instruction through individual and group work are the main vehicles for learning. Continuous provision and an enabling environment provide the backdrop for this learning.

In Year Two

Playful exploration and sustained shared thinking will be used to facilitate learning through child centred topics.


Perhaps play would be more respected if we called it something like ‘self-motivated practice of life skills,’ but that would remove the light-heartedness from it and thereby reduce its effectiveness. So, we are stuck with the paradox. We must accept play’s triviality in order to realise its profundity.

Peter Gray (Free To Learn)