Play is the Way 2020-2021 Update

As we approach the end of a another school year the time has come to look back and reflect on our successes and plans for the future.  What a year it has been!  Despite the challenges of 2020-2021 Falkirk’s ELC practitioners and early primary teachers have again made Falkirk extremely proud with their commitment and passion to driving forwards improvements in play pedagogy.  Below are just a few updates and highlights.

New Support Materials Available

The central early learning team have continued to develop support materials to aid teams and practitioners to develop their own play pedagogy and practice.  This year two new resources have been added to our support materials.

Play is the Way:Getting to where we want to be

In May, we launched a draft of Play is the Way: Getting to where we want to be audit toolkit.  Primary Schools and ELC settings are invited to use this self-evaluation tool to identify where they are now and what needs to happen next. The tool lists a series of features which are designed to help senior leaders and staff teams reflect upon their practice, identify improvement actions and choose the most appropriate support to help them achieve these.  A copy of the audit tool can be found in the self evaluation document store on the Leadership and Management page of the Falkirk Early Learning Glow SharePoint.

Play is the Way: Introduction for families

Our central team have also produced materials to support settings share the rationale behind Play is the Way with families and give examples of what this might look like in practice, particularly in P1 classrooms.  These materials are available as a Sway which can be shared directly with families or as a PowerPoint and accompanying transcript which settings can use to design and deliver their own workshops for families.

A variety of engaging and useful documents have also been created by Falkirk’s Early Years Pedagogues to share some of the key messages from Realising the Ambition: Being Me with families.

All materials are available in the Play is the Way document store on the Falkirk Initiatives and Approaches page of the Falkirk Early Learning Glow SharePoint.


Impact of 2020-2021 professional learning opportunities

More than 200 staff members participated in authority run professional learning opportunities about play pedagogy and have been using their learning to improve provision and outcomes for our youngest children this year.

52 P1 and P2 teachers completed a short course with Professor Deirdre Grogan from Strathclyde University to help them embed high quality Play pedagogy in practice in their classrooms.


100 ELC practitioners took part in a one-off session with Deirdre where they explored high quality Documentation and Provocations. 



76 ELC practitioners, P1, P2 and P3 teachers along with early level senior leaders took part in a facilitated team enquiry project supported by online training modules from educational consultant Kym Scott.


The projects aimed to provide smoother pedagogical transitions for children as they move from one stage to the next whilst using high quality play and playful teaching to improve children’s outcomes in early literacy and maths.

99% evaluations returned stated that the project had met these aims. There was also a significant increase in practitioners’ confidence in the delivery of developmentally appropriate early literacy and maths learning experiences for young children.  This Sway gives a more detailed report of the projects for those who wish to find out more.


What’s coming up in 2021-2022?

  • A feedback session will be held on 8th September 2021 where interested parties can share how they have used the Play is the Way: Getting to where we want to be audit toolkit so far and suggest any improvements for the final draft which will be published by October 2021.
  • The inspiring, Professor Deirdre Grogan will be back supporting improvements to play pedagogy by delivering:
      • Transitioning into Play is the Way.  A 4 part course where Deirdre will support staff teams to develop their vision and rationale for play as well as increase knowledge and understanding about how young children learn and how this can be supported in practice through child-centred play pedagogy.  This course will be repeated with cohort 1 running September to December 2021 and cohort 2 running January to March 2022.
      • Embedding Play is the Way – The Child’s CurriculumA two-part course for P1 and P2 class teachers where Deirdre will explore how to effectively plan, teach, assess and document high-quality child-initiated learning.
  • There will be another chance for settings to take part in a facilitated team practitioner enquiry project with the fantastic Kym Scott. Further details about this can be found in the Connecting Play Across the Early Level project proposal.
  • Our live Play Pedagogy Network sessions will get back up and running again next year with a focus on sustaining play is the way and securing children’s progress through high quality learning, teaching and assessment.

All our professional learning courses are available on Falkirk’s CPD manager now. Sign up quickly to make sure you don’t miss out on these great opportunities.



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