Over the last year it has been increasingly important for teachers to find new ways for children to learn and find value in life experiences beyond just a classroom environment. Putting children at the centre of these life experiences enables them to do just this.
A child-centred approach to learning follows pupils, building their confidence by validating their perspectives and encouraging self-expression. With heightened engagement comes better attainment, as well as helping to develop resilience. What life skills could be better placed right now to help children learn? This is why a growing number of schools and students are using now>press>play to fulfil their education requirements.
now>press>play is an award-winning immersive audio learning resource for primary school children which brings the curriculum to life through its original combination of sound, story and movement.
From climbing through layers of rainforest canopy in the Amazon, to fighting a woolly mammoth in the Stone Age, these audio-only adventures are uniquely designed to stimulate children’s imaginations.
Through a child-centred approach to learning, they extend children’s life experiences while also making the curriculum both highly accessible and engaging.
Designed to support and be delivered by a teacher as part of classroom teaching, now>press>play provides rich stimulus as an extension of classroom learning within different environments and locations, providing continuity as well as personalised learning across a number of areas and topics.
There are currently 76 curriculum-based Experiences for EYFS, KS1 and KS2 covering a broad range of subjects, some of which aren’t often explored using physical, drama-based and emotion-led learning: Maths, Science, History, Geography, PSHE, RE, MFL, and Literacy.
In a now>press>play Experience, every child in the class puts on a pair of wireless headphones and becomes the main character in a story based on their curriculum topic.
For up to 30 minutes, children move around the room and meet different characters while discovering new places, subjects and cultures. They are also encouraged to perform tasks and solve problems, and now, in addition to in-school experiences, they can also do this at home.
Many school trips have been postponed, so technology has filled the void enabling children to travel to new places and make the most of their surroundings.
now>press>play has been used with children from Early Years and nursery settings onwards. Children have developed essential life skills such as creativity and empathy and strengthened their communication, as they have engaged with and been stimulated by the world around them.
The power of sound to build life skills for learning
Sound as a medium has an incredible power to stimulate the imagination. It can engage the listener in an experience, making a moment highly personal and intimate. Alison Kriel, Founder of Above & Beyond Education, describes it as, 'an opportunity for them to develop a deeper understanding of what happens in the world to others, or what happens to them and how they then communicate that to the world.'
Sound can heighten our senses and take us to places we’ve never been, make us feel what it’s like to be there and what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. Year 2 pupils at Marshfield School said: 'It’s so fun and exciting when you can pretend to be in the Arctic. I liked doing the actions and pretending to crawl in the snow.'
'I pretended to be Florence Nightingale helping the poor soldiers in the Crimean War. It helped me to imagine what it was like.'
With a decade of experience creating stories that harness sound’s power to immerse the listener in a moment and unlock emotion and empathy, this is why now>press>play has such an impact.
One Year 5 class teacher described it as 'a wonderful piece of immersive technology'. She said: ‘I was blown away by how the pupils in Year 5 responded to this magnificent Experience. They were plunged into the middle of WW2 and embraced and internalised every second without question! It has had such an incredible impact on their learning. This is a resource we will continue to utilise at every opportunity.’
A stimulus for developing communication and literacy
Some children are reluctant writers but being immersed in a now>press>play Experience helps to unlock language. This became apparent in lockdown when now>press>play was used for blended learning and parents became aware of the benefits of using audio Experiences as a stimulus for learning. One parent of a Year 3 pupil described the impact of now>press>play on her daughter:
‘I think she has always been afraid to take on bigger writing tasks as she finds the concentration aspect difficult. She is a child who just can’t sit still and much prefers exploring and physical/sensory activities to “desk” learning.
'We had been working at the table indoors for a couple of sessions, but when the sun came out, we went outside to work. I realised that, as she acted out her ideas for the story in the garden, the language she was using changed from a very workmanlike, ‘let's just get this done’ manner to a really adventurous and exciting form of words. As she knew she didn’t have to write it down and therefore didn’t have to worry about spelling (another area of difficulty), she used new and ambitious vocabulary. She was really pleased with the outcome.'
In class, now>press>play stimulates children, engages them in a very immediate way by putting them at the centre of a story. This means that children are excited to write about the Experience they have just participated in such as the follow-on writing opportunities, quizzes, storyboards and worksheets.
For many children returning to school after a long absence, now>press>play has provided an arena for imagination and self-expression. Teachers, parents and pupils will all benefit from this exciting child-centred approach to curriculum topics. Lorenzo McLellan, Year 6 Teacher, West Drayton Primary School, says: 'now>press>play is an experience the children will never forget; it brings to life for them the topic work, in a way which quite frankly I could never have achieved, in such a direct and engaging manner.'