The program has been educating generations of Australians with an emphasis on learning through play. The Australian edition is the second longest running children's television program worldwide.

Many components of play school have withstood the tests of time; but who is credited with the arch, round and square windows? Who came up with Big Ted, Little Ted, Humpty and Jemima? Who invented the flower clock?

This week I sat down with Joy Whitby in London, the original creator and producer of Play School.

Joy was a pioneer in children's television programs in the 1960s before she ran her own production company, producing popular animations and shows such as Grasshopper Island.

In the '60s when there was limited nursery places in schools in the UK (kindergarten equivalent), Joy was appointed to create a half hour morning children's program that would be screened weekdays which led to the inception of Play School.

She "consulted writers, teachers and illustrators" before pulling together a team to produce the program.

Joy was progressive in her choices and hired a team of unique presenters, so personalities, gender and ethnicity reflected the diversity of life and maintained the integrity of the program.

Her team were a "quiet and ambitious lot of people" and included an "Italian woman and a Ghanaian man with all-round abilities."

A tradition that still continues today, 'Play School aims to reflect a modern, multicultural Australian society with a range of family situations and experiences' and 'strives to reflect a modern, diverse Australian society'.

It was up to Joy to "find a formula capable of innovation yet provide a discipline". As she said, "ideas come from your own experiences" and credited one of her sons who was scientifically-minded even at a young age, that influenced her.

She kept him in mind when the program investigated "soap bubbles or looking at the inside of a clock."

This worked to cater for the "different emphasises and focus each episode may have had, from a pet focus, to dressing up, imaginative play or other different aspects of a child's development."

Joy mentioned "original familiarity" a term coined by her husband which was a winning method for the show.

There was an element of familiarity weaved through each show, such as the "chair that remained for stories everyday" and the same rocket clock and windows, yet there was also an element of ever changing content.

The show continues to use this successful method of marrying predictable structure with injections of surprise and elements of suspense.

In the early episodes of Play School Joy said how important scripting was.

It made me think about how important the choice of language we use in the classroom is too.

Joy also mentioned "an extra, subliminal element was that the shape of the window related to the type of film that followed.  For example  if the subject was balloons, the round window was the obvious choice - not always easy to match such thinking but a helpful discipline."

Joy mentioned that "honesty is key in children's television" and that it's "difficult to get humour, spontaneity and a show that is charmingly funny, at a child's level."

Joy also communicated with Sesame Street which at the time was a yet to be launched American children's program. They took immense interest in studying Play School intently.

I was thrilled to meet Joy who continues to work and relaunch creative projects. She has had such a colourful history as a distinguished children's television producer and an influence beyond measure!