Meta-Play

Appropriate for ages 18 months – 4 years

Empower your young learners with a play-based approach to learning.

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For more than 10 years, TeachTown’s solutions have been designed to support continuity and intensity of instruction in any setting – whether that’s in-person, hybrid or remote-based learning.

TeachTown’s Meta-Play solution offers a systematic, play-based approach to fostering the development of imagination and play skills in young children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disabilities, developmental delays, and social and emotional disabilities.

TeachTown’s Meta-Play Method

By fostering meaningful and purposeful play for young learners with disabilities, the Meta-Play education solution provides teachers, clinicians and families with a comprehensive play-based curriculum that sequentially teaches skills that promote the development of imaginative thinking, pretend play and age-appropriate social skills.

The activities and materials embedded throughout the Meta-Play curriculum promote:

  • Imagination from object existence to more abstract human imagining
  • Engagement that is out of the learners’ control or unpredictability
  • Fostering movement on the object to human continuum
  • Fosters movement on the part to whole continuum

Program Activities and Features

Where to Start: Meta-Play activities do not need to be completed sequentially, however lessons within each activity should be completed in order. Each lesson plan builds on previous learning objectives and scaffold instruction, making each lesson within the activity more difficult. Pick activities that are most appropriate for your learners developmental ability and are likely to motivate your learner.

Lesson Delivery: Lessons can be delivered one-on-one, in small groups, or using peers. When needed and appropriate, begin lessons one-on-one and gradually increase the number of learners to promote incidental learning and age-appropriate reciprocal interactions. Each lesson is intended to last 15-20 minutes, however based on engagement and motivation can be expanded.

Scheduling: It is recommended that lessons are implemented daily. By scheduling the Meta-Play daily, learners will have frequent repetition of instruction and the likelihood of skill development increases substantially. Learners should be familiar with and motivated to engage with the Meta-Play lessons and materials.

Establishing a Supportive Environment: It is important to create and foster a supportive learning environment. When possible, eliminate distractions, provide barriers, and provide ample visual supports. Provide access to age-appropriate and motivating materials. If needed, provide visual schedules, first-then boards, and token economies to increase engagement and motivation.

Enhancing Generalization: Activities and lessons within the curriculum should be implemented with various educators, therapists, familiar adults, peers, and parents/guardians. Additionally, substitute Meta-Play materials for other items in the natural setting (i.e., toys, common objects) to promote skill generalization across stimuli.

Meta-Play’s Resource Teacher Kit

Wooden Dowel • Mr. Potato Head TM • Matching Real Cups • Tea Set • Boy/Girl Puppet • Toy with Human Face • Magnetic – People Puzzle • Human-like Puppet • Hungry Pelican • Matching Phones • Human-like Doll-Figurines • Animal Puppet • Boy/Girl Puzzle • Off-centered Ball • Canvas White Object Puppet • Pad and Pen • Small Cloth • Lacing String • Clear Container • Semi-Clear Container • Solid Container • Plastic Storage Bin • Paper Figure Cutouts

*Based on availability, resources may change.

Progress Monitoring

Data Collection and Assessment Procedures

Defining the Behavior
Each lesson plan has a measurable learning objective that systematically advances learners through the lesson plans and Meta-Play activities at an appropriate pace based on each learners’ progress. Each learning goal is systematic written to identify the condition, behavior, and criteria for example. Using Meta-Plays observable and measurable learning goals, measure the learners behavior to establish a baseline, or present level of performance, and monitor the learners progress. Based on the characteristics of the learner, goals and objectives can be adapted as needed.

Example of Lesson Objective
Using an abstract object, the learner will engage in pretend play behavior in a
representative manner with assistance for three consecutive trials or with 80% accuracy (4 out of 5 trials) for two consecutive sessions.

  • Condition: Using an abstract object.
  • Behavior: The learner will engage in pretend play behavior in a representative manner with assistance.
  • Criteria: For three consecutive trials or with 80% accuracy (4 out of 5 trials) for two consecutive sessions.

Environmental Factors

  • Setting: By analyzing setting-specific data, educators can make data-based decisions based on a learners progress in specific instructional environments. It is important for learners to generalize skill development across setting.
  • Materials: While Meta-Play provides materials specific to each lesson, it is encouraged that a variety of materials are incorporated in the lessons and activities. Generalization across materials and manipulative is encouraged and required for true mastery.
  • Facilitator: Educators, paraprofessionals, or lesson facilitators should initial each session, identifying who worked with the learner during that instructional time.

Monitor Progress
Collect student-specific data on learning objectives and goals consistently, monitoring the learners progress regularly. For learners requiring additional support, provide more systematic modeling and prompting. For learners making consistent progress and growth, fade prompts to increase independence.

Mastery Criteria
To ensure skill mastery, a learner is required to demonstrate mastery across two instructional sessions with 80% accuracy or for three consecutive trials. It is crucial to ensure a student has consistently and independently mastered each learning objective before moving on to the next lesson.
Moving on to more advanced lessons without scaffolded skill mastery could result in confusion, frustration and a delay in skill mastery.

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