Playful Literacy

Build children's literacy through their natural ways of learning. | taught by Lisa Burman

Interested in this course? Email us at

Course description

Sorry! Registrations are now closed. 

Begin the eCourse as soon as you register. 

You have 6 months access to all course materials.

Registrations will reopen in 2020. 

Children enter the world of literacy through their play. They bring with them a wealth of literacy understandings and competencies as they enter educational settings. Taking a playful pedagogical stance to literacy values and honours children's prior learning, their dispositions for learning and holds a positive, competent view of the child. It enables children to use their natural ways of learning - playing, moving, talking, listening. observing, reading social cues, imagining and creating.

This eCourse explores symbolic play, oral language and mark-making as the roots of print-based literacy. Reading and writing depend on the conceptual understandings, knowledge and dispositions that are developed as children play. You can participate on your own or with a small team of colleagues.

"Lisa Burman's Playful Literacy eCourse is detailed and engaging, with a focus on the roots that reading and writing have in children's play and oral language. The content encourages reflective practice, allowing educators to enrich their spaces, interactions, and ultimately, the learning of the children in their care."     

Clare Crew - Thriving Children

Commonly Asked Questions

I’ve never done an online course before – what is it like?

I personally talk you though a series of slides that you’ll follow at your own pace on the screen. You have control over how slowly or quickly you work through each Module. The downloadable Reflection Guide supports your thinking with key points from each Module and guide questions and prompts so you can make connections along the way. In between Modules there are recommended foci for observing children learning as they play. The downloadable Observation Guide supports you in your observations and in naming the learning.

How long does each Module take?

It is difficult to know this exactly, because everyone learns at their own pace and will take different amounts of time to journal and/or discuss with colleagues. However, a rough estimate is that each Module will take approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours. Modules are also broken into parts so you have the option of breaking it down even further if this suits you. 

Do I need to do the Modules in order?

Yes. The Modules are designed to build on each other and need to be followed in order. However, you can always return to a previous Module if you want to review anything. 

How long will the whole eCourse take?

Again, this is hard to know as your personal schedule will determine how often you can engage with the online materials. I recommend that you give yourself a week in between each Module so you can consolidate your thinking and also have time for the Between Module Observations. For this reason, the Modules are ‘dripped’ out to you once a week. But don’t worry if reports are due or your children get sick and you don’t get to a Module one week. You will have six months to access it so you have the time to devote to your learning. 

Do I get Professional Development credit for the hours of professional learning?

At the completion of Module 5, a certificate of participation for 15 hours will be supplied to you. (This is based on 2 hours per Module and an estimated 5 hours for the Between Module Observations.)

How does it work if I want my Team to participate together?

We all know we learn so much more when we have the chance to talk about our thinking and listen to others’ ideas. 

Teams and leaders have told us that is has been more effective for each participant to have a separate log-in (to work through the Modules independently and then meet as a group to discuss). To support your team to learn together, we offer a Team Discount for groups more than 4 from the same site. 

Email Melissa at with the names of your team members and she will send you a discount code ($100 discount for each participant). 

You qualify for the team discount if there is more than 4 participants from the same site/team.

But what if I don’t have a team to learn with?

Don’t worry! You will still get a lot from the eCourse if you need to learn on your own. I’ve designed Reflection Guides to support you to journal about your thinking. In fact, even if you’re learning with a team it is a good idea to journal your ideas. The Observation Guides will also support you to make connections to your context. And…one of the reasons I decided to use Thinkific as the hosting site for my eCourses is each eCourse has a Discussions capacity. So if you like to feel connected to some others who are learning through the eCourse at the same time as you, you can post ideas or questions in the Discussions and build some online connections. I check in on the Discussions from time to time also. 

What technology do I need?

All you need is a computer with speakers and access to a reliable internet service. The course modules have been thoroughly tested across multiple devices and browsers and are all functioning correctly, but occasionally some users run into issues. These are usually related to specific computers, internet browsers, internet connections or school security firewalls.

To avoid the frustration of being blocked by your site’s security firewall (which unfortunately we can't control), we recommend that prior to beginning the eCourse, you contact your school’s ICT/Network manager about removing any security block on the eCourse or Thinkific site.

We also find that GoogleChrome is a more reliable browser for the Thinkific platform so you might like to use this from the start.

How much does it cost?

Full access to the 5 Modules is AU$280 per person, including admin fees and GST (Australia). This works out to be less than AU$20 per hour for professional learning that you can do in your own time, at your own pace. 

What do I get for this Registration Fee?

  • Access to all 5 Modules
  • Reflection Guide for each Module
  • Observation Guide for 4 Modules
  • Downloadable examples and templates for planning for playful literacy learning.
  • Free Bonus: eBook “5 Fabulous Story Tables – Getting Started with Playful Literacy.” (AU$20 value)
Lisa Burman
Lisa Burman
Director & Principal Consultant

Lisa is an educator who sees herself as an ‘every-day researcher’, fascinated with childhood and learning. After a number of years teaching and leading primary schools in Australia, she consulted in and around New York for ten years. Her highly regarded consultancy business is now based in Adelaide, South Australia. Lisa’s interests include early childhood education and care, imbedding and contextualizing the principles of the Reggio Emilia educational project within learning environments, play, literacy learning, inquiry learning and strengthening children’s connections to nature. She is passionate about pedagogies that see children as capable and competent learners who are skilled in researching life and making connections. Her favourite work is side-by-side with children and educators in their learning settings.

Lisa has presented at a number of national and international conferences, including REAIE Landscapes of Imagination Conference (Melbourne, 2016), International Reading Association Annual Convention (Chicago, 2006), Australian Literacy Educators Association Annual Conference (Darwin, 2006), National Staff Developers Association New York State Conference (Rochester, 2006) and National Association for the Education of Young Children Annual Convention (Atlanta, 2006). Each year she is invited to present keynote addresses and facilitate workshops at regional and international conferences. Lisa writes a quarterly newsletter and is presently working on ideas for her second book.Her first book was published by Redleaf Press and is titled “Are You Listening? Fostering Conversations that Help Young Children Learn”.

Reviews (1)

Playful Literacy

by Mandi Klinger
Excellent course. Very thorough and beautifully presented. I look forward to doing another course with Lisa.

Playful Literacy

by Mandi Klinger
Excellent course. Very thorough and beautifully presented. I look forward to doing another course with Lisa.

Interested in this course? Email us at