The days of sitting in a classroom counting sticks and pebbles are over for the new entrants at Lynmore Primary School.

The school has introduced an initiative called play-based learning for students in Year 0 and 1.

Rather than sitting in a classroom and learning reading, writing and maths, play-based learning sees children learn social and emotional skills, problem-solving, sharing and creativity through play.

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Teacher Shelly Lamb said it eased the transition from early childhood education to primary school.

In early childhood the children are self-directed for most of the day. Lamb said having to sit in a classroom all day was a big difference for most children moving to primary school.

"With play-based learning they are following their own interests so there won't be a single child off-task," Lamb said.

She said the programme also meant children were more settled on their return to school.

Teachers incorporate education around the traditional reading, writing and arithmetic into the play, which occurs in and outside the classroom, depending on what the child wants.

"That's much more powerful than sitting them down and counting," she said.

Lamb said the children also learned life skills through play.

"Children are born to play and through play is how they learn. When they play they learn the skills they need to like problem-solving and waiting for a turn."

Lamb said the programme was a movement which was becoming more popular in schools. However, it was costly to set up and the school was asking for donations of items like toys for water and sandpit play, puzzles, Lego and more.

If you can help, email shelly.lamb@lynmore.school.nz.