Learning Through Play: Playgroup’s Role in Providing Well-Rounded Childhood Development


Playgroup, a two-hour session that takes place Monday through Friday each week, allows children aged 1 to 4 years to engage in learning environments that help to facilitate their physical, intellectual and social development. Our highly qualified staff members have curated a programme that all children are welcome to participate in—whether Riverside students or not—which encourages whole-person development through Shrewsbury’s “Learning Through Play” concept. 

Play is a significant aspect of teaching children how to interact with the world around them and how to navigate essential skills such as patience, resilience, persistence and sharing. Playgroup provides children with the opportunity to engage in a variety of rotating “special activities” as well as daily malleable play, movement and songs, and storytime. Rotating activities include splash play, soft play, cookery, garden play, ball games and picnics. 

“Play is learning and learning is play, you can't really distil one from the other, they go hand in hand,” Julie Rawley, EY1 teacher and playgroup facilitator, said. “It is through exploration, it is through interaction that we learn. All human beings, not just children… so play becomes this very significant aspect of how you interact with not just the world around you, but the children that are around you, the people that are around you.”


Playgroup encourages children to develop essential life skills at a crucial stage in their development through the provision of a fun, educational and social atmosphere. Shrewsbury Riverside’s thoughtfully designed EY environment provides children with a range of opportunities to engage in play, such as the garden, splash pool, kitchen and specially curated classrooms full of enriching activities. By interacting with various resources within an invigorating group setting, children develop skills that will carry into their transition to the classroom.

Jordon Lee, Leader of Playgroup since the start of the 2023-2024 academic year, works closely with the children each session and plans the daily activities. His hands-on approach focuses on each child and their cohesion as a group. From teaching them to cook quesadillas to guiding them through the EY garden, his time spent with the children has allowed him to witness their growth over time. 

“There are a couple of different aspects of working with the children that are my favourite, but the one that I enjoy the most is being able to bring out a smile in the children and watching them grow every time they come to playgroup,” Jordon said. 

Playgroup is most beneficial when attended regularly because it allows children to experience different forms of learning through participation in a variety of activities that change daily, as well as exposure to a wider range of new faces to interact with. According to Jordon, the ultimate goal is to help children discover different concepts that will enable them to further understand the topics they will learn in school. Additionally, consistency is essential to ensuring that the skills they are introduced to are fostered over time and grown into strong assets they will carry with them throughout the rest of their lives. 

“When we see children consistently come to the Riverside playgroup, we see that they progress over time,” Julie said. “It has powerful benefits that are not just in a short period but over the length of their time in classrooms and learning environments.”

Through the hard work of passionate and skilful teachers such as Julie and Jordon, the Shrewsbury Riverside playgroup continues to grow alongside its many children who attend. The early years educators are frequently inspired by new ideas for learning and play, ensuring that playgroups maintain a well-rounded, varietal environment for children. 

The Shrewsbury Riverside Playgroup is open to all children aged 1-4, click here for more information and to secure your child’s spot today.



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