BCC Purpose and Value of Play & Children at Play Discussion

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Barstow Community College



Why Does My Child Just Play All Day?

“As an early childhood educator, you will be confronted with frequent challenges to explain the value of play to families, educators of other age groups and program administrators. This demand for explanation is reasonable in the current era in which the push for academic achievement continues to grow...Because play is so important for development it is important that you know how to explain its value even before you are asked to do so.” (Feeney et al, 2013, p.305)

POST: For this post you will assume the role of the teacher who is conferencing with a parent. The parent asked for the conference because she was concerned that her child isn't learning enough in your play-based classroom. She is worried that her 4-year-old child will not be ready for kindergarten next year and specifically wants to know, “When are you going to start teaching her something?”

You will post your thoughtful response to this parent that reflects what you have learned in Chapter 9 about the purpose and value of play in the young child’s development. Think of this as practice in articulating how play supports the child’s development in all domains, physical, social, emotional, and most importantly to ease the parent's concern, cognitively. This is the essential focus of your essay on play.

This assignment supports course learning outcomes 2 & 3 and student learning objectives 5, 6, 7 & 8.


Examples of Children at Play

I have created this topic in an effort to assist you in your Play Essay. In the past, students have scored low in one particular area of this assignment, that being the "examples" part. Review the Play Essay Guidelines and the Rubric and you will see that when you write your essay, you have to give "real-life" examples of children engaged in play and exploration that clearly demonstrates how the play is supporting each developmental domain. Therefore, in your essay, you will have to come up with four different scenarios or examples of play that relate to the physical, social, emotional, and cognitive domains.

POST: Create a real or fictitious (made-up) scenario of a child or group of children ages 0-5. Make your scenario rich in detail, but do not indicate what domain you are trying to exemplify.

This assignment supports course learning outcomes 2 & 3 and student learning objectives 5, 6, 7 & 8.

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7 17% 1 T-Mobile 10:14 AM ...-00-3k-docs.googleusercontent.com 357 of 899 Chapter 9 Understanding and Supporting Play Source: Jeff Reese Through play, children learn what no one can teach them. Lawrence Frank Chapter Learning Outcomes: 1. 9.1 Describe the nature of play and explain some theories that help us understand it. 2. 9.2 Explain some ways that play contributes to development. 3. 9.3 Develop strategies for facilitating children's play. 4. 9.4 Identify some issues related to play. 1 T-Mobile 10:16 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf ✓ F NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards The NAEYC Professional Preparation Standard that applies to this chapter: Standard 1: Promoting Child Development and Learning (NAEYC, 2009). Key elements: • la: Knowing and understanding young children's characteristics and needs • 1b: Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on development and learning • 1c: Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments K + 3 7 기 7 17% ..1 T-Mobile 10:14 AM ...-00-3k-docs.googleusercontent.com 358 of 899 NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards The NAEYC Professional Preparation Standard that applies to this chapter: Standard 1: Promoting Child Development and Learning (NAEYC, 2009). Key elements: • 1a: Knowing and understanding young children's characteristics and needs • 1b: Knowing and understanding the multiple influences on development and learning • 1c: Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments 1 T-Mobile 10:16 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf ✓ F Do you remember the dizzy joy of rolling down a hill, the focused effort of building an elaborate structure with blocks, the satisfaction of learning to jump rope, or the concentration of pretending with friends? Whether rich or poor, in town or country, you played. Children all over the world play; they have always played. Play is the ultimate realization of the early childhood educator's maxim of “learning by doing." Since the field began, early childhood educators have sought to understand and support this most natural of activities. Today, as in the past, belief in the value of play is a distinguishing characteristic of early childhood educators. It is a link to our past and a bond between early childhood professionals. “Why do they play all day? When are you going to start teaching them something?" You will be asked these questions and will need to explain the importance of play to families, program administrators, and other educators. In the current era of “push-down academics” and standards-based instruction, it is crucial that you are able to explain how children learn through play and why play is essential for their development and learning. Because play is how children learn, it is the heart of developmentally appropriate early childhood curriculum. It is the medium through which children learn about the world, and an important way that you will achieve your goals for children's learning. Play supports all aspects of children's development. It provides an avenue for them to practice skills and solidify concepts. Observing children at play is the basis of authentic assessment. Through these observations you will learn a great deal about what they understand and can do. You will also come to appreciate their interests and unique characteristics and know what they are like as individuals. Because of the impressive power of play to lead the development of social, emotional, and cognitive competence, it is important that you understand play-what it is, how it develops, its function in growth and learning, the controversies surrounding it, and the role of the early childhood educator in supporting children's play. K + 3 7 기 1 T-Mobile 10:16 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf F Understanding Play What is play? What is its significance? Why is play so compelling to children? Reflecting on the play of children and your own childhood play can help you realize that many things can be play. As you observe a child at play, you may notice the characteristics of play. As you watch children of different ages, you will see that play changes as children grow. And as you observe boys and girls with different temperaments, experiences, and abilities, you will see some of the individual differences in children's play. The characteristics and stages of play described by theorists and researchers can help you understand what you see. Characteristics of Play As the 4-year-olds gather, Ashley, the teacher, invites each child to select a center where he or she would like to begin the morning. Kaitlin, Bryce, and Ema select the dramatic play area. Kaitlin announces, "Let's play farm. I'm the lamb, and Bryce, you be the farmer." Ema protests, “You got to be the lamb last time. I get to be the lamb this time." Kaitlin concedes and claims the role of the mommy lamb as she puts a blanket in the doll bed to serve as a bed for her baby lamb. Bryce follows with a carton of eggs (large beads) and says, "I'm the mommy chicken, and I'm making eggs." As he places the eggs in the doll bed, Kaitlin pushes him away, proclaiming that chickens use nests, not beds. Ashley observes the interaction and responds by offering a shawl as nest material. Ask adults how they can distinguish children at play and they will likely tell you "when they are having fun" or even "when I can't get their attention." Perhaps there is no single agreed-on definition because no single activity is play. Is gardening play or work? Is running a joy or a punishment? Although no definition captures the essence of play, theorists, researchers, and educators have identified characteristics that distinguish play from other behaviors. These characteristics enable you to understand what play is-and what it is not. Knowing this can help you make decisions and take actions that support children's play and avoid interrupting or misguiding it. Although the exact wording varies, specialists on play (Brown & Vaughn, 2009: Johnson, Christie. & Wardle, 2005: Saracho & Spodek. 1998) include the following characteristics as necessary for play: • Play is intrinsically motivated. It is its own reward. Children play because it is satisfying, not because it meets a basic need or receives an external reward. It is the motivation, rather than the activity, that makes something play. Walking on a balance beam as you cross the playground is play; walking a balance beam as part of a gymnastics routine because your parents want you to win a prize is most likely work. The pleasure and focus that Kaitlin, Ema, and Bryce brought to play in the preceding example is a sign of this personal motivation. Had Ashley (the teacher in the example) rewarded them for playing farm, it would have been work. • Play is freely chosen. Children choose play. The play opportunity beckons, and children answer the call of play. Ashley invited the children to play, but she could not have required children to pretend in this way. The moment compulsion enters, it becomes work, not play. • Play is pleasurable. Pleasurable, focused pursuit of an activity is a hallmark of play in children and adults. Although play can be seriously pursued and can include challenges, fears, and frustrations, it is the quality of joy that stands out when we think of play. Activity that is not enjoyable most of the time will not be chosen as play. • Play is done for its own sake. The play, rather than an end product, motivates. Children are more involved in discovery and creation (the process) than the eventual outcome. Play can have a product or goal, but this will be spontaneously decided by the players as part of play and may change as the play progresses. Bryce, Ema, and Kaitlin were not putting on a lamb-and-chicken show-they were deeply involved in the process of pretending. • Play is active. Play requires physical, verbal, or mental engagement with people, objects, or ideas. Although we clearly recognize the rough-and-tumble actions of the young child as play, quieter activities, such as drawing, molding play dough, or even daydreaming, are play when the child is actively engaged. • Play is self-oriented rather than object oriented. In play, the basic question is "What can I do with this object?" In contrast, when confronted with a new or unusual object, the first order of business for most children is to answer the basic question "What is this object and what can it do?" Play theorists and researchers call this exploration and distinguish it from play Johnson. Christie, & Wardle, 2005). • Play is often nonliteral. Many activities are playful, but it is nonliteral pretending-when children suspend and alter reality for make-believe-that is the pinnacle of play. Children alter reality for make-believe-"Let's play farm-I'll be the mommy and you be the baby" or (holding an egg carton full of beads) "I'm the mommy chicken, and I'm making eggs." This temporary setting aside of the external world for internal exploration and imagining allows children to create realities and engage in symbolic representation. • Play is focused. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (2008), a professor of psychology noted for his study of happiness and creativity, calls this flow-complete and energized focus. Focused play creates a sense of timelessness and living in the moment. Children at play are powerful creators compelled by forces from within to create a world. Although the raw materials of their creations are life experiences, the shape of their creations is individual. Play is simultaneously an attachment to and a detachment from the world-a time during which children can act autonomously and freely and experience themselves and the world with intensity. Scott Eberle, the vice president for interpretation at the Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, suggests that both children and adults go through a six-step process when they play: anticipation, surprise, pleasure, understanding, strength (or mastery), and poise (or grace and a sense of balance). When we experience all of these, we are playing (Eberle, in Brown & Vaughn. 2009). Reflect On Your Memories of Play When you were a young child, how did you play? What made it play? What was your play like as you got older? How did the play change? > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:16 AM 7 15% drive.google.com ปี PDF Who Amlin ... ducation.pdf +] E practicing adult roles. Reflect On Play in Your Life Think of a way you play as an adult. What makes this activity play for you? How much and how often do you get to play? How important is play in your life? If you were being described by your friends or family, would they talk about the things you do as play? Why or why not? More recent theorists, researchers, and educators have expanded our understanding of why children play. We know that play is both a natural and an instinctive activity that helps children's development. Current theories of play strongly reflect the influence of Freud, Piaget, and Vygotsky. Freud and his followers, particularly his daughter Anna Freud and Erik Erikson, felt that play provided a catharsis, an emotional cleansing, to help children deal with negative experiences. According to these theorists, in play, children feel more grown up and powerful, can exert some control over their environments, and thus relieve anxiety created by real-life conflicts. Play therapy (psychotherapy for children) uses play and play materials in the diagnosis and treatment of children who have psychological conflicts and problems (Hughes. 2009). Piaget and his followers believed that play is the medium through which children develop cognitively (Reifel & Sutterby, 2009). Based on his observations, Piaget described a set of stages in the development of children's play. Many of today's early childhood programs have a Piagetian orientation to play. Children are allowed time and materials to play, and their teachers trust that it will help them "construct their own understanding of the world. Source: Jeff Reese Theorist Lev Vygotsky also believed that play served as a vehicle for development. Unlike other theorists, Vygotsky thought play promoted several areas of development: cognitive, emotional, and social. He saw the special role of play as a bridge between what children already know and can do and what they will soon be able to understand and do. Vygotsky called this space between what the child knows and what she or he will soon comprehend the zone of proximal development. In Vygotsky's view, play provides an anchor between real objects and the ability to symbolize (Van Hoorn, Monighan Nourot, Scales, & Alward, 2014). He also believed that play facilitates the development of self-regulation, motivation, and decentration (the ability to consider multiple aspects of a stimulus or situation) (Bodrova & Leong, 2007). Theorists have consistently confirmed the role of play in development. On-going research has recognized the ways that play helps children learn to self-regulate-to control their physical, emotional, social, and cognitive behaviors (Bodrova & Leong, 2003: Bronson, 2000). It confirms the pivotal role of play in children's learning of competencies and skills that lead to the development of proficiency, mastery, and self-control. Stages of Play As children grow and develop, they engage in different and increasingly complex types or stages of play. The ability to understand and identify the various stages of play is a valuable tool in your work with children of all ages. If you know that two 5-year-olds can play happily together building a road with blocks and sharing a single vehicle but anticipate that two toddlers will play separately and each will need his or her own truck, you will be able to make sensitive judgments of what behaviors are reasonable to expect from the children, and you will know how to provide developmentally appropriate opportunities for each child in your setting. > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:16 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf d. F Kinds of Play Babies play in different ways from preschoolers. Children play in different ways from adults. Although play changes across the life span, some types of play remain the same. As we consider play in early childhood, it is useful to remember that different types of play are not restricted to young children. • Body and movement play. Physical play is easy to identify. It is part of play from the first days of life. Whether you see a baby sucking his toes, a preschooler riding a trike, a kindergartner jumping rope, a fifth grader playing four-square, an adult dancing, or a kitten chasing a ball of yarn, you know they are playing. Freely chosen body movement is innately pleasurable and playful. Source: Jeff Reese • Rough-and-tumble play. Play fighting without intent to harm, called rough-and-tumble play, is characteristic of almost all mammals. If you have ever watched a litter of puppies or a group of 4-year-old boys on a playground, you have seen rough-and- tumble play (also called big-body play). Despite its near universality in homes, allowing rough-and-tumble play in formal programs is controversial. While it is often discouraged or banned outright, there is a growing recognition of the value of rough- and-tumble play (Carlson, 2011). • Object play. Exploring and manipulating objects is another early-to-develop, easy-to-recognize form of play. We have a special word for play objects (toys), special industries that make toys, and special stores that sell them. However, play objects can be as simple as a cup to bang on or a box to climb in. They can be as complex as an old machine to take apart or an iPad with interactive apps to play with. • Imaginative play. Pretend, dramatic, or imaginative play involves the creation of a story or narrative. In imaginative play, the players become immersed in acting out the story as they create it. Both a child dressed up in her mother's hat and shoes and an adult who is a knight in the Society for Creative Anachronism are involved in imaginative play. Perhaps the most intellectually engaging form of play, imaginative play is considered by many to be the most important form of play for children to master (Bodrova & Leong, 2003: Brown & Vaughn, 2009: Elkind, 2007: Smilansky & Shefatya, 1990). • Games. Structured play that has a goal, rules, and a specific challenge is called a game. Games can be solitary but are more often interactive and involve competition. Games usually involve some kind of equipment (like board games and ball games). There are many different types of games, ranging from individual and sedentary (like solitaire and most computer games) to active group games played in teams. Games cross the boundary between play and work when a player is employed or rewarded for play, as happens in professional sports. Why Children Play Philosophers, theorists, educators, and psychologists have observed children at play for centuries and speculated about play's nature and purpose. Many of the philosophers and educators who have influenced early childhood education viewed play as worthy of serious consideration. Plato and Socrates wrote about play. John Locke suggested that it contributes to children's health, good spirits, and motivation. Friedrich Froebel, the "father of the kindergarten," believed that children learned through play and created toys (gifts) and play activities (occupations) to be used in a play-based curriculum (Frost. Wortham, & Reifel. 2011). During the 19th and early 20th centuries, a number of writers studied play and formulated explanations for the role of play in human development. In 1938, Johan Huizinga proposed that play was a special separate sphere of human activity that existed outside ordinary life and that it was necessary for the creation of culture (Huizinga, 1971). The surplus energy theory of play, introduced by British philosopher Herbert Spencer (1963), suggested that the purpose of play was to help human beings use energy they no longer needed for basic survival. Adults have work to do, but children need to expend their energy in play. G. Stanley Hall (1904) formulated the recapitulation theory of child development, which suggests that during childhood, the history of evolution is relived. In Hall's theory, play serves to rid children of primitive and unnecessary instinctual traits carried over by heredity from past generations. Hall was the founder of the child study movement and influenced the creation of laboratory schools, where research could be done to form a scientific basis for teaching. John Dewey founded the Chicago laboratory school, an outgrowth of this movement. Dewey (1910) disagreed with Hall. He saw play as the way children construct understanding. Instinct or practice theory, developed by German philosopher and naturalist Karl Groos (1901), suggested that play was a natural instinct, necessary for children's growth and development. Groos argued that lower animals do not play but that more highly evolved species do. This theory suggested that play was practice for adulthood. Children at play practice the tasks and roles of adults. The relaxation or recreation theory of G.T. W. Patrick (1916) held that play was an essential mechanism to relieve tension and fatigue (Frost et al., 2011; Hughes, 2009). Today, we know that play is important to development of all kinds and essential to brain development. It is one of the ways that neurons develop connections, in other words, how the brain builds itself (Brown & Vaughn. 2009: Elkind. 2007). When we observe a group of children, it is easy to see how these theories evolved. A group of energetic preschoolers cooped up on a rainy day eem to hav rplus energy. same group, afte opportunity to and much ore relaxed when they come back in. A jungle gym full of climbing children is humorously reminiscent of our primate cousins and can seem to be replaying evolution. And it can frighteningly apparent when we watch children playing house, school, or war that they are B → + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf »] F Source: Jeff Reese Stages of play have been described from several perspectives by developmental theorists. Parten studied the social dimensions of play and identified types that typified different age-groups. Piaget and Smilansky focused on the cognitive aspects of play. Elkonin, a student of Lev Vygotsky, identified levels of make-believe play. Parten: Stages of Social Play In the early 1930s, Mildred Parten developed categories of play that described the nature of the relationships among players (Parten, 1932). Her categories of play continue to be used by early childhood educators. Parten identified six stages of social play that can be viewed along a continuum from minimal to maximal social involvement. The first two (unoccupied behavior and onlooker) are periods of observation preceding the venture into a new situation. Each of the four remaining stages dominates a particular age (although they occur at other ages as well), with children tending toward more and more social play as they get older. These four stages are as follows: • Solitary play (dominant in infancy). During solitary play, children play alone and independently with objects. Other children playing nearby go unnoticed. Although solitary play is dominant in infancy and is more typical in younger children, older children also select and benefit from solitary play. • Parallel play (typical of toddlers). In parallel play, children play side by side but still are engaged with their own play objects. Little interpersonal interaction occurs, but each may be aware of and pleased by the company of a nearby companion engaged in similar activity • Associative play (seen most in young preschool-age children). Parten identified two forms of group play. The first, associative play, involves pairs and groups of children playing in the same area and sharing materials. Interaction may be brisk, but true cooperation and negotiation are rare. Two children, each building a zoo in the block area, sharing animal props, and talking about their zoo but not creating a joint zoo or negotiating what will happen at their zoo, are involved in associative play. Cooperative play (characteristic of older preschool and kindergarten/primary-age children). Cooperative play is the most social form of group play. In it, children work together to create sustained play episodes with joint themes. They plan, negotiate, and share responsibility and leadership. For example, a group of children pretending to go on a picnic might cooperatively decide what food to take, who should attend the event, how to get there, who will drive, and what joys and catastrophes await them on their outing. Piaget and Smilansky: Cognitive Stages of Play Unlike Parten, who was concerned with the social aspects of play. Jean Piaget (1962) looked at how play supports cognitive development. He developed a framework with three stages of play development that are parallel to his stages of cognitive development. Sara Smilansky adapted Piaget's stages of play, based on her observations of young children from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds (Smilansky & Shefatya. 1990). She categorized play into four types, similar to those of Piaget, and added an additional type-constructive play. Piaget's and Smilansky's stages provide only slightly different ways of looking at similar play behaviors. Smilansky's work can be seen as building on Piaget's. Here is a summary that combines their cognitive play stages: • Practice or functional play (dominant from infancy to 2 years of age). In practice play or functional play, children explore the sensory qualities of objects and practice motor skills. This stage parallels Piaget's sensorimotor stage of development. Children who are engaged in functional play repeat actions over and over again as if practicing them. Both a baby who repeatedly drops a toy over the side of the crib for you to pick up and a toddler who dumps and refills a bucket over and over are engaged in practice play. These actions are viewed as explorations to learn about objects. Although this type of play is most common in the first 2 years, it does not disappear. Both a preschooler repeatedly pouring water from one container to another and a teenager repeatedly combing his already perfect coiffure in front of the mirror are involved in practice play. • Symbolic play (dominant from 2 to 7 years of age). In symbolic play, children use one object to represent another object and use make-believe actions and roles to represent familiar or imagined situations. Symbolic play emerges during the preoperational period as the child begins to be able to use mental symbols or imagery. The different forms of symbolic play are further separated by Smilansky into two categories: constructive play, in which the child uses real objects to build a representation of something according to a plan (e.g., creating a bird's nest with play dough), and dramatic play and sociodramatic play, in which children create imaginary roles and interactions where they pretend to be someone or something (mommy, doctor, dog, and so on) and use actions, objects, or words to represent things or situations (a block for an iron, arm movements for steering a truck, or "woof woof" for the bark of a dog). • Games with rules (dominant from 7 to 11 years). In games with rules, children recognize and follow preset rules in the interest of staining solitar gro play that conforms to the expectations and goals of the game. During this period, children's play is typified by games with rules, though such games may also be enjoyed by younger children. The ability to agree on and negotiate rules is viewed as growing from the cooperation and negotiation developed in cooperative play. Chutes and Ladders, dominoes, kickball, jump rope, and perhaps even peek-a-boo are examples of games with rules. y + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf → F Age and Stage of Development Stage/Level of Play According to... Piaget Smilansky Practice play Functional play Parten Solitary play Vygotsky/Elkonin Children play alone other children unnoticed Children explore sensations and motor skills. Children engage in explora- tion to learn Parallel play Symbolic play Constructive play Level 1 Object Centered Children play side by side. Aware of, pleased by the company of others--ittle interaction Roles not named. Actions Children manipulate objects object centered, stereo- to create something typed, repeated w/o order. No "rules" for roles. Associative play Dramatic play Level 2 Infants (0-15 months) Piaget Sensorimotor (birth-2 years) Erikson Trust vs. mistrust Toddlers (15-35 months) Piaget Preoperational (2-7 years) Erikson Autonomy vs. shame and doubt Young preschool children (3-4 years) Piaget Preoperational (2-7 years) Erikson Initiative vs. guilt Older preschool and kindergarten children (4-6 years) Piaget Preoperational (2-7 years) Erikson Initiative vs. guilt Primary school children (6-8 years) Piaget Concrete operational (7-11 years) Erikson's Industry vs. inferiority Pairs/groups play together sharing materials. Coopera- tion/negotiation rare. Children represent reality and familiar or imagined situations. Roles named, actions sequenced. No negotiation, argument or explanation. Cooperative play Level 3 Children pretend roles and use actions, objects, words to represent things or situations. Roles named before play. Role speech used. Inconsis- tent roles pointed out some actions explained. Groups engage in sustained play. They plan, negotiate, share. Games with rules Games with rules Level 4 Mature Play Children recognize and follow rules that conform to expectations and goals of game. Children behave according to rules to sustain play. Roles well defined. Action planned. Children stay in character. Rules for roles explained. Table 9.1: Full Alternative Text Dramatic and Sociodramatic Play In her work concerning the nature and importance of dramatic and sociodramatic play, Smilansky points out that dramatic play represents a different and potentially higher level of play behavior than any other kind: "Dramatic and sociodramatic play differs from the three other types of play in that it is person-oriented and not material and/or object-oriented" (NAEYC. 2009). Dramatic play is acting out human relationships using symbols (“when I put on the big boots and hat, I'm the daddy"). It may be carried out individually or with another child. Sociodramatic play involves acting out complex interactions in cooperation with others. A story line is created, roles are assigned, and changes are negotiated as the play proceeds ("I put on the big boots and the hat, and you can be the little boy and get in the car, and I'll drive you to the zoo"). "Sociodramatic play allows the child to be an actor, observer and interactor simultaneously, using his abilities in a common enterprise with other children" (Smilansky & Shefatya, 1990, p. 3). Smilansky identified the important elements of dramatic and sociodramatic play as follows: • Imitative role-play. In role-play a child undertakes a make-believe role and expresses it in imitative action and/or verbalization. In other words, the child imitates something he or she knows. (Miriam shows that she's a puppy by getting down on all fours and barking to ask for supper.) • Make-believe with regard to objects. Toys, nonstructured materials, movements, or verbal declarations are substituted for real objects. (Miriam uses a block as a pretend bone.) • Make-believe with regard to actions and situations. Verbal descriptions are substituted for actions and situations. (Miriam acts out being scared of another child who she says is a mean lady who wants to steal puppies.) • Persistence. The child continues playing in a specific episode for at least 10 minutes. (Even though activity time is over, Miriam continues in the role of puppy and comes to circle time on all fours. She barks for the first song.) • Interaction. At least two players respond to each other in the context of a play episode. (Miriam and Rivera both are pets, but Rivera is a kitty. They play together and meow, hiss, whine, purr, and bark to one another.) • Verbal communication. Some of the verbal interaction relates to the play episode. (Periodically, Rivera gives Miriam directions on the next event in the play, such as, "It's nighttime, and the puppies and kitties have to go to sleep for 100 minutes.") These elements of play can be used as a basis for evaluating the play skills of individual children. When a particular play skill is not seen, play skill training can be used to teach it to the child. (See Figure 9.3 later in the chapter.) K + 3 7 기 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf F >] The Role of Play in Development Play isn't the enemy of learning, it's learning's partner. Play is like fertilizer for brain growth. It's crazy not to use it. Stuart Brown, Christopher Vaughan Children need to play. Play supports the development of the whole child-a person able to sense, move, think, relate to others, communicate, and create. It is important to healthy brain development (Brown & Vaughn, 2009; Frost, 2008; Shonkoff & Phillips, 2000). The importance of play was recognized by the UN General Assembly in November 1989, when they approved the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which asserts that every child has the right to play and must have the opportunity to do so. Early childhood educators have long been able to justify play's value in supporting physical, social, and emotional development. In recent decades, they have met with ever-increasing pressure to justify play in terms of how it contributes to cognitive and language development. It is of particular interest that researchers have found positive relationships between the play abilities of children and their subsequent academic achievement and school adjustment (Brown & Vaughn, 2009). Current animal research indicates that frequent play, especially rough-and- tumble play, enhances brain development and social ability (Pellis and Pellis, 2013). Play researchers continue to discover ways that play facilitates all areas of development. The Role of Play in Physical Development Play contributes to physical development and health throughout life. Children at play develop physical competence efficiently and comprehensively. The vigorous activity of children's spontaneous play builds the strength, stamina, and skills they need to succeed as learners. Children learn best when they have bodies that are strong, healthy, flexible, and coordinated and when all of their senses are operating. From infancy on, children display an innate drive to gain physical control of their arms and legs as they strive to reach for and eventually grasp and manipulate objects (Bodrova & Leong, 2003; Bronson, 2000). Children have an inborn drive to explore, discover, and master skills. The concentrated play of childhood leads naturally to the physical mastery that was probably essential to our survival as a species. Running, jumping, climbing, throwing balls, and riding bikes—the activities we most commonly think of as play-are of prime importance in the development of perceptual-motor coordination (the ability to use sensory information to direct motor activity) and in the attainment and maintenance of good health. A growing body of research identifies specific benefits of play on health and physical development. Playful manipulation of objects in infancy provides the basis for object control skills, such as throwing, in the preschool years (Trawick-Smith, 2010). Mastery of locomotor skills is related to the frequency and quality of play experiences (Adolph, Vereijken, & Shrout, 2003). Preschool children as young as 4 who exhibit low levels of play activity have been found to have greater health risk factors, such as higher blood pressure and body mass index (Sääkslahti. Numminen. Varstala. Helenius, Tammi, et al., 2004). The Role of Play in Emotional Development Therapists and educators have long appreciated the rich emotional value of play. Freud and his followers identified play as a primary avenue through which children express and deal with their fears, anxieties, and desires. Contemporary therapists still use play as the medium for helping children deal with the feelings associated with traumatic events and disturbing situations in their lives. Children at play devise and confront challenges and anticipate changes. In the process, they master their fears; resolve internal conflicts; act out anger, hostility, and frustration; and resolve personal problems for which the “real” world offers no apparent solutions. It is no wonder children are motivated to play all day. > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf F primary medium through which young children make sense of their experiences and construct ideas about how the physical and social worlds work. The functional play that begins in infancy and persists through life is basic to the process of learning about the properties of objects and how things work. Constructive play, typical of the toddler, is the mode we use throughout life for discovering and practicing how to use unfamiliar tools and materials (as you may have done learning to use a smartphone or a map). The dramatic (pretend) play of preschool children has a critical role in the development of representational or symbolic thought and the eventual ability to think abstractly. In sociodramatic play, children develop understanding of the world by reenacting with playmates experiences they have had or observed (e.g., a trip to the grocery store). They alter their understanding based on the response and ideas of their friends (“I'm the store man, and you have to give me 50 dollars for that orange. Oranges cost lots of money!"), and then use the new meaning as they again experience the real world (“Mom, do we have enough money for oranges?"). This circular process is one in which information is constantly being gathered, organized, and used. It is one of the primary ways in which children come to understand the world. Jones & Reynolds (1992) suggest that young children engage in dramatic play in order to master the routines and sequences (referred to as 'life scripts') that adults encounter in daily life, for example, eating at a restaurant, attending a party or social event, participating in a faith-based ritual, driving, etc. "The familiarity of life's scripts is what makes the daily life of adults efficient. ... We are free to think about other things. ... We recognize this only when we find ourselves in an unfamiliar setting-driving a borrowed car ... placing a phone call in a foreign country. Young children ... play in order to find their way around in what is for them the foreign country of adults, to master its daily scripts" (Jones & Reynolds, 1992, p. 10). Sociodramatic play is of particular interest to play researchers and educators because of its significance in cognitive development. Sociodramatic play involves symbols, and the ability to use and manipulate symbols is the foundation for later learning, particularly literacy skills. In their book Facilitating Play: A Medium for Promoting Cognitive, Socio-Emotional, and Academic Development in Young Children, Sara Smilansky and Leah Shefatya (1990) describe many studies in which competence at sociodramatic play is highly correlated with cognitive maturity and creative and social abilities. The Role of Play in Integrating Development Throughout this book, we refer to the development of the whole child. At play, more than at any other time, children engage all aspects of themselves and most fully express who they are, what they are able to do, and what they know and feel. Blocks, dramatic play props, construction toys, art materials, books, puzzles, climbing structures, sand, and water-the play equipment and materials found in almost every early childhood program-are rich in their potential for supporting all aspects of development. Reflect On More Memories of Play Reflect on a time when you developed or improved a skill or learned through play. Did the activity take energy and work? Was it still play? The Special Role of Outdoor Play It is likely that some of your most poignant memories of play involve playing outdoors. Why? While all play is important, there is something special about playing outdoors. Perhaps it is the freedom to run, to yell, and to discover the limits of your physical abilities. Maybe it's the challenge of learning to use equipment like trikes, swings, and wagons or the excitement of overcoming your fear at the top of a slide. Perhaps it is the opportunity to experience the adventure of nature. It might be feeling the joy of play that is not as bound by adult rules. Whatever the reason, outdoor play has a special role in programs for young children and deserves special consideration. E > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am iin ... ducation.pdf F Children at play feel they are in control of their world, practicing important skills that lead them to a sense of mastery over their environment and themselves. They discover ways to express emotions and to communicate their inner state that enable them to maintain the self- control necessary for a cooperative relationship with other players. The Role of Play in Social Development From birth, children are enmeshed in a social environment. They need to develop ways of expressing emotions and develop behaviors that enable them to create positive relationships with others (Bronson, 2000). Survival depends on adult care from the moment of birth. Caregivers play with infants in a way that is unlike anything adults do in any other life situation. They address questions to an infant and then take the infant's part to answer. An ordinarily dignified adult will make undignified noises and facial expressions (“ZZZZZZZZZZZZ Gotcha!") and respond with the greatest joy when the baby laughs aloud for the first time. Infant-adult play progresses to games like pat-a-cake and this-little-piggy (which have their equivalents in every culture). Social play leads to increased social interaction skills. Children learn how to initiate play with relatives, family, friends, and peers. They develop awareness of others, and learn to cooperate, take turns, and use social language. They learn to be a part of a group, develop a social identity, and learn about the rules and values governing their family, community, and culture. The play becomes increasingly complex and is sustained for greater periods of time. By the time children reach their second birthday, most portray social relationships through dramatic play, such as pretending to feed a favorite doll or toy animal. By age 4 or 5, almost all will have learned the things they need to know to enact complex social relationships with their peers in sociodramatic play, for example, pretending to be customers and workers in an ice cream store. Soon after, they become able to play rule-governed games like tag. Through this play, social concepts such as fairness, justice, and cooperation evolve and influence play behavior and other social relationships. BAN 6 Source: Jeff Reese The social competence developed in sociodramatic play leads to the development of cooperative attitudes and behaviors. Most peers, families, and educators prize the sharing, helpful, and cooperative behaviors associated with high levels of social competence developed through this kind of play. The Role of Play in Cognitive Development A major task of the early childhood years is the development of skills for learning and problem solving. In play, children learn to set goals, plan how to proceed, develop the ability to focus, and create ways to organize their approach to cognitive tasks (Bronson, 2000). Play is the K > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf F What is different about outdoor play? It is obvious that the outdoors affords children the opportunity for a wider range of large motor activity than a classroom can. It is where rough- and-tumble big-body play is most likely to be accepted by adults and least likely to cause damage to people and furniture. Similarly, it is the place where children can engage in messy, sensory play with water, dirt, and sand without the mess-avoiding precautions needed indoors. And, of course, the outdoors is the best place to explore and learn about the natural world and its animals, plants, and weather. There are additional, less obvious reasons that outdoor play is important. Young children's social development is enhanced when they play outside. Away from the restrictions of the indoor classroom, children have more space to develop friendships. They learn to be leaders, learn to be a part of a group, and learn to be alone. Children play differently outdoors than they do indoors. As well as involving more gross motor play, they engage in play that is more complex, filled with language, and less stereotyped by gender (Frost et al., 2011). Children's lives and children's play in the 21st century are generally more restricted than they were in the past. Because of this, the children in your care may have few opportunities to play outdoors in their home lives. Knowing this, it is important to advocate for young children, whatever their age and wherever they live, to have time each day to play outdoors. Explaining Play As an early childhood educator whose program provides opportunities for children to play, you are likely to have many occasions in which you will need to understand and explain the role of play in children's development. Figure 9.1 provides you with a summary of some of the things that children develop through play and its relationship to academic success. You may also find the publication Play in the Early Years: Key to School Success useful when developing your explanation. You may also wish to keep it available to share. You can download it from the website of the Alliance for Childhood. • Increased physical competence: development of both fine and gross motor skill. This provides the foundation for a range of abilities from keyboarding to dancing. Increased physical fitness and decreased health risks: including reduced obesity. • Representational competence: the ability to represent objects, people, and ideas. This provides the foundation for reading and math. • Oral language competence and narrative understanding: the ability to understand and use language to talk to others and think in stories necessary for reading and the ability to and subjects like history and science. • Positive approaches to learning: curiosity, motivation, and a sense of mastery-atti- tudes that are key to school success. • Skills in logic: concepts of cause and effect, the ability to classify, quantify, order, and solve problems that form the basis for higher order thinking in math, science, and other subjects. • Self-regulation and social negotiation: the ability to negotiate, cooperate, advocate, listen, handle frustration, and empathize. This has been shown to contribute to emotional health and school success. Figure 9.1 What Children Develop Through Play Figure 9.1 Full Alternative Text Connecting with Families About Play + 3 7 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf F Facilitating Play It is a happy talent to know how to play. Ralph Waldo Emerson You are learning about play and have come to understand it as a natural and powerful way for children to develop. As an early childhood educator, you have a significant role in children's play. By your attitudes and your actions, you can support or discourage play. What you do will influence the nature of children's play. Your next step is to learn a variety of techniques to support development through play. Source: Jeff Reese Supportive Attitudes When you understand play's role in children's development and learning, you approach children at play with an attitude of respect and appreciation. When you understand that you have an important role in facilitating children's play, you approach it with an attitude of serious attention. You see play as your ally and the support of play as an important part of your job. Some practitioners in early childhood education and care accept play as part of the "care" aspect of their work but fail to trust it as a primary process in their "educator role. These individuals might feel uncomfortable when children play in the educational part of the program and may try to intervene in play to make it seem more like "school." They don't understand play's role in children's development. Your view of play will be influenced by your professional setting. Those who work with infants and toddlers generally receive support and approval for giving play an important role in their programs. The same is true for many (though not all) who work with 3- to 5. year-olds. If you teach in an elementary school, you may find that play is not understood or supported by your colleagues or the families of the children you teach. In this case, your appreciation for play must be coupled with information that supports its importance. Supportive Roles Mirah and Aiden are in the dramatic play area playing with the dishes. Granette, the teacher, enters, sits down, and asks, "Is this the House of Dragon restaurant?" (naming a recently visited restaurant). "Can I have some noodles with black beans?" Mirah looks quickly around the area and then says to Granette, "Can we get the restaurant stuff?" Granette smiles and nods as she lifts the restaurant kit from the nearby storage cabinet. Children play regardless of the circumstances. What you do before and during their play can make a vital difference in the quality of play and in what children gain in the process. Appreciation for children's play brings with it the realization that in play, children-not adults-are the stars. You can, however, fulfill many supporting roles that facilitate their play. Stage Manager The essential elements of play are time, space, equipment, and materials. Your first supporting role in children's play is providing these elements. Elizabeth Jones and Gretchen Reynolds (1992) refer to this important role as that of stage manager. Being a stage manager involves more than simply setting out materials for play. It includes selecting and organizing materials, space, and equipment so that they suggest play that is meaningful to the children. Children of all ages must have time to play. Early childhood educators who value play are flexible about time. They view children's play as more important than strict adherence to a schedule. Part of the role of the stage manager is the artful arrangement of equipment and materials. This assists children in what Jones and Reynolds (1992) refer to as distinguishing figure-ground relationships-in other words, distinguishing what you are looking at from the background. Contemporary research suggests that a carefully organized play environment promotes children's abilities to explore activities and learn predictive skills (Weisberg et al., 2014, cited in Hassinger-Das. Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff 2017). If your classroom has too much equipment or if what you have is disorganized, it may be overwhelming or confusing to children and inhibit play. The cycle of setting up, playing, and reordering the environment is an ongoing process in early childhood settings. When you understand it and participate in it willingly, you communicate that you value play. Observer Another important role you will have in children's play is that of observer. When you observe carefully and assess what you see based on what you know about child development and play, you are better able to understand what is happening for children, what children might need, and how you can support them in play. Emily filled several buckets with sand and water. She sat them in the sand and then went to get more water. Kenese and → + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ปี PDF Who Amlin ... ducation.pdf E Sage sat down and began to play with the bucket of sand and water. Emily turned around and yelled, "Hey! That's my lab. I don't want anyone to work in my lab." If you have observed that Emily still functions best in a parallel play mode, you might offer Kenese and Sage additional buckets and a space to play near her. Or, if you have observed that Emily is ready to move into cooperative play, you could provide her with additional containers and suggest that she give them to the scientists in the next-door laboratory. Structured observation records can yield important insight about play. Checklists or scales have been developed for looking at play behavior. These tools can be used to increase your understanding of play. The social-cognitive play scale (see Figure 9.2) codes play on its social and cognitive dimensions and enables you to get a quick look at a child's stage of play development. Parten-Piaget Social-Cognitive Play Profile Child: Observation Dates: Parten Social Play Stage Solitary Parallel Associative Cooperative alone with toys; side by side playing with one or more sustained play with a group of other children with little children-they are sharing children-they plan, negotiate, unnoticed interaction materials and share Practice/Functional sensory and motor exploration of toys, materials, and people Symbolic: Constructive manipulation of objects to create something Symbolic: Dramatic pretending to be something someone using actions, objects, or words. Games with Rules structured play that has a goal, rules, and a specific challenge Instructions: Observe child every 10 minutes for 15 seconds during a freely chosen activity time. Check the box that best describes the child's type of play AND social involvement. Repeat on subsequent days over 1 or 2 weeks to create a profile of the child's typical play. Piaget Cognitive Play Stage Figure 9.2 Parten-Piaget Social-Cognitive Play Profile Figure 9.2 Full Alternative Text To develop a profile on the play behavior of each child in your class, you can use a sampling system over a period of several days. To begin, you make a gridded sheet like the one in Figure 9.3 for each child in the class, shuffle the sheets so they will have a random order, start your sample with the top sheet, observe the child, and then place it on the bottom of the pile to be used for subsequent samples on the same day. Observe the child for approximately 15 seconds, mark the play behavior on the sheet, and then move on to the next child. You can sample three children each minute, so if you had a group of 15, you could take six samples of each child in a half hour. After 4 or 5 days, you would have enough material to see typical patterns of play behavior for each child. In a classroom of infants, you would probably find more play occurrences marked in the solitary-functional grid. If you were to shadow an 8-year-old for a day, many of the play behaviors would likely fall in the lower-right-hand corner, indicating games played with groups of peers. This information is useful to you in making decisions about what intervention might be needed to support the play of individual children. Name Group Sociodramatic Play Profile Imitative Make-Believe Make-Believe Persistence in Interactions with Role-Play with Objects with Actions Role-Playing Others child undertakes a toys and materials words role continues for with other players role using action and substituted for real descriptions at least 10 minutes child responds in or words imitating objects Substituted for role familiar experiences actions Verbal Communication has verbal interaction related to the role and play scene To develop a profile of the group's sociodramatic play skills, observe children over several days during both indoor and outdoor play. For each child check off the different types of sociodramatic play that you observe. E > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Amlin ... ducation.pdf F When joining babies' or young toddlers' play, becoming a parallel player is usually the least intrusive and most supportive way to connect with them. Sit near the toddler stacking the cups and begin to stack some yourself or pat the floor in imitation of a baby who is patting; this imitative action tells the young child that you are interested and encourages further exploration and play. Sometimes, teachers think they should intervene in children's play to teach concepts or vocabulary. We once observed a teacher stepping into a play scenario to question children about the colors and shapes of the food being consumed at a pretend picnic. Just as this interjection might interrupt the conversational flow at a real picnic, the interruption did not lead to a meaningful discussion of colors and shapes, and it stopped two players who were having a lively interchange on the merits of feeding hamburgers to the pretend dog. It is possible to help children be aware of new ideas in play, but it takes skill to do so without manipulating and diverting the activity. For example, when joining the group at a pretend picnic, would be possible to comment, "Could you please pass me that red apple? It looks very tasty," rather than, "What color is this apple?" It is appropriate to include specific vocabulary words that you wish children to learn into your play interactions as long as this is done in a natural rather than a quizzing or instructional manner. "I think that eggplant is a delicious vegetable!" instead of, "Eggplant is delicious; what does delicious mean?" Why play with children? Perhaps the best reason is because it is a way to share their world, to demonstrate your respect, and to renew your appreciation of the complexities and importance of children's play. Tutor Although children play naturally, not all children have fully developed play skills. Children who have been deprived of opportunities to play, whose families do not value play, or who are traumatized may need the help of a tutor in learning to play. A study conducted by Smilansky (1968) in Israel found that children from low-income families in which parents lacked a high school education engaged less often in dramatic and sociodramatic play than did children from more affluent families. Since then, other researchers have found the same pattern in other countries. Intervention strategies have been designed to teach the play skills that a child lacks. In this play tutoring, you demonstrate or model a missing skill until the child begins to use the skill in spontaneous play situations. For example, if a child is dependent on realistic props, you might offer substitution ideas-"Let's pretend that these jar lids are our plates" or "Let's pretend that the sand is salt"-until the child begins to do so independently. It is important to note that the goal of play tutoring is to teach play skills in the context of the spontaneous play episode. The adult should not change the content of the play by taking a directing role. Play tutoring has proven effective in improving the dramatic and sociodramatic play skills of children, which in turn has brought about gains in cognitive and social development. Guide Recent studies of the relationship between play and development indicate that guided play, play that "maintains the joyful child- directed aspects of play but adds an additional focus on learning goals through light adult scaffolding," can build specific language, mathematics, and spatial skills (Weisberg, D.S., K. Hirsh-Pasek. R.M. Golinkoff. A.K. Kittredge, & D. Klahr 2017). Fatima, Tucker, and Noah are playing with table blocks. "This one is a triangle," Fatima tells the boys. "I'm gonna put it on top of this part to make my roof." "I want a triangle, too,” Tucker says, searching through the blocks on the table. The children move some blocks around, putting various shapes on top of their structures. "I can't find one," Tucker says. Their teacher, Lucas, approaches and asks "I wonder if you could make a triangle using some other blocks?" Noah says, "I can make one with these!" He puts three square pieces into a triangle shape. "You found a way" Lucas says. "You figured out that this triangle has 3 sides that are all the same length; then you found some other pieces to make one." "Yeah," Noah says happily. "Let's make some more triangles." In this scene the teacher followed the children's play. He didn't interrupt what they were doing or quiz them about shape names. Rather he provided materials that allowed children to explore the properties of shape, modelled language to build vocabulary, and encouraged them to discover properties of shapes through active engagement with materials. This type of light scaffolding can prevent children from becoming frustrated and promote attention and longer periods of engagement. Golden Rules for Supporting Children's Play 1. Provide enough time–45 minutes to 1 hour of uninterrupted playtime several times a day, both indoors and outdoors whenever possible, even the weather is less than perfect. 2. Choose play materials to meet needs and interests of the particular children. 3. Observe children as they play-to learn, to support, and to enjoy. 4. Add materials or equipment to support play as it happens. 5. Help children who have difficulty entering play by assisting them to find a role in play (e.g., "It looks like you need a fire dog in your fire station. Joe is good at barking-can he be the fire dog?"). 6. Participate in children's play, but let children take the lead. 7. Observe and think twice before stopping play, unless a child is in danger. 8. Be playful and child-oriented when you guide or participate in children's play. 9. Avoid interjecting adult concepts or judgments into children's play (e.g., "How many are there? Was that nice?"). 10. Redirect play (when necessary) in a way that supports rather than stops it. Just as some children lack play skills because they are deprived of a safe physical and emotional environment in which to play, other children do not develop play skills because they are deprived of time to play. They are compelled to conform to adult standards of behavior, to excel academically at an early age, and to master skills typically developed by older children. To them, playtime is something they must "steal" from their busy schedule of dance lessons, soccer practice, math practice, and full-day school (Elkind, 1981). When you include play as a key feature in your early childhood classroom, support it skillfully, and learn to describe its value to others, you may help families to feel comfortable including more play into their children's daily experiences. 1 + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf →] F Figure 9.3 Group Sociodramatic Play Profile Figure 9.3 Full Alternative Text Mediator and Protector Children's play is most productive when they feel safe from harm and relatively free from interference. Because group play has the potential for disorder and disruption, you will sometimes take the role of play protector and play mediator. As opposed to a limit setter, a disciplinarian, or a rule enforcer, a mediator collaborates with children. As a mediator, you help individuals work out conflicts and concerns when a neutral third party is needed. A mediator does not intervene when the participants can handle a problem. Children's conflicts in play can give you an opportunity to teach peaceful conflict resolution skills that will assist children in handling problems on their own. As a play protector, you maintain the delicate balance between guidelines that support and sustain play and excessive control that interferes with play. It's important to encourage play but not let it get dangerous or uncontrolled. The way you enter children's play to ensure safety and order needs to be respectful of the play ("Excuse me, birds, would you like me to help you move your nest here under the table? I'm afraid it might fall out of the tree and the eggs will crack.") rather than intrusive and thus interrupting the play ("Get down from the table. Tables are not for playing on; someone might get hurt."). Dramatic play episodes that are prolonged and engrossing often attract latecomers who wish to join in. In this situation, the play protector and mediator can observe carefully and assist shy or anxious children in entering the play. It is best if you can unobtrusively help the child find a role. For example, in a camp scene, you might say, "Would you like to get wood for the campfire? I think I know where we can find some." If the entering child is disruptive, you may help by giving the child a task that makes use of high energy in the scene, such as chopping the wood. Source: Jeff Reese The hallmark of highly developed dramatic play is that the children use objects to represent things: A bowl becomes a hat, a plate becomes a steering wheel, and a block becomes a telephone. Therefore, play can be a disorderly process, as play materials for one type of activity are transformed in children's imaginative pretending. This tendency can present a dilemma. If you are overly concerned abo the proper use f equipment, you may curtail and important learning; if you no limits, the resulting disorder can be overwhelming for both you and the children. Deciding on the best course requires sensitivity. Notice what children are doing with the materials. If they are being used as part of the play it is best to let the play continue or to provide an appropriate substitute. For example, in a classroom we know, when manipulative toys were being used as "food" in the nearby dramatic play area, the teachers added pretend food. On another day in that same classroom children scattered and walked on the pretend food and played dog family. The teachers removed much of the food and left the bowls being used as dog food dishes. Sometimes you might decide to allow play that would normally be restricted, as happened in a classroom we visited once when a child was dealing with a family move. When the child began to move dramatic play area materials across the room, the teacher observed and asked questions and then made moving a legitimate activity, explaining to the children, "We're pretend moving today, so the library is going to be our new pretend home, for a while." Participant The conventional wisdom in early childhood education once was that teachers should not become directly involved in the play of children. Play was seen as the arena in which children were to be left free to work out their inner conflicts and exercise power over their environment. It was regarded as the duty of an adult to keep out of the child's play world so as not to interfere with important psychological development. The only valid roles allocated to the adult were those of stage manager and observer. In recent decades, however, research has pointed to reasons for joining in children's play as a participant. Why should adults play with children? When adults play, they lend support to the amount and quality of the play. Your participation gives children a strong message that play is a valuable activity in its own right, so they play longer and learn new play behaviors from observing you. It also builds rapport with the children. As you learn more about their interests and characteristics, you are better able to interact with them. When you participate, play may last longer and become more elaborate. Of course, your participation must harmonize with the play of the children or else it will disrupt or end the play. When you play with children, take your cues from them and allow them to maintain control of the play. Limit your role to actions and comments that extend and enrich the play. When you join in, it is important that you do so in a way that supports ongoing play. Sometimes, children offer a role to an adult. "Would you like a cup of coffee?" is an invitation to join a restaurant scene being enacted. If not invited, you might observe and then approach the player who seems to be taking leadership and ask to be seated as a customer and in this way gain entry into the play. As a customer, you might inquire about the price of a cup of coffee, ask for cream to put in it, and praise the chef for the delicious pancakes he or she has prepared. By asking questions, requesting service, and responding to things children have done, you introduce new elements into the play without taking over. + 3 > 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf [ F Reflect On Playing in School Reflect on a time when you played in school. Where did you play? Who supported your play? How much time did you have for play? What do you think your teachers thought about play? Why do you still remember this play today? Gauge your understanding of the concepts in this section. K + 3 7 기 1 T-Mobile 10:17 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Amlin ... ducation.pdf .. F Issues in Play A number of issues affect children's play in the United States today. Because play is the cornerstone of early childhood curriculum, these issues will affect your work, and it is important that you are aware of them. Diversity and Play Drew, a 4-year-old, African-American child, enters the big playground running and calls to his Caucasian friend Jason, "Come on!" Both scramble up the big climbing structure and slide down the fireman's pole, then crawl into the tunnel made of tires. Siow Ping, whose family immigrated from Asia, sits in the shade of a tree. She has collected all the pebbles she can find and has lined them up from biggest to smallest. As she observes them, their teacher, Dena, is aware that the children are each playing in their preferred ways. Play researchers and practitioners have studied play in a variety of settings and found that cultural background, social class, and gender are factors, along with stage of development, that interact in dynamic ways to influence the types, amount, and quality of play that children engage in. In the preceding vignette, the differences in play preferences and activity level could be attributed to cultural or gender differences or to a combination of both. Understanding that there are different play preferences, abilities, and styles among children will increase your sensitivity to individuals and help you be more supportive of the play of all children. It is wise to assume that all children want to and can play. Given that assumption, you can use your ability to observe, your understanding of individual children, your ability to create environments, and your skill in supporting play to help each child engage in productive play. Culture, Social Class, and Play In Euro-American culture, play is often seen as the means by which children learn about the physical and social world and develop language. In some cultures, it is valued as entertainment, and in others, it is seen as a needless distraction from work in which children are expected to participate. The value a culture places on play influences how much support the adults provide. Where play is assumed to contribute to learning, the adults are more likely to make available the materials, settings, and time for play. If it is seen as relief from boredom or a waste of time, children may be left on their own to improvise times, places, and materials for play. Whatever the case, children in all cultures play (Johnson, Christie, & Wardle, 2005; Rogers, 2011). It is important to provide play props and other materials that represent the experience and cultural background of all of the children. Children from different cultures may not respond to the play props found in the typical early childhood program designed for middle-class American children. When the play props relate more closely to their life experiences, their play is likely to become richer and more complex. How can toys and props represent cultural diversity? The makers of educational equipment strive to do this by selling elaborate ethnic costumes, musical instruments, and plastic ethnic food. Many of these props may be as exotic to the children in your class as they are to you. When selecting dramatic play materials it's important to know the families in your program and what their lives and cultures are like. For example, some cultural groups (Native American, African American, Mexican, and Asian, to name a few) value the extended family, and elders play a significant role. So props that represent the elders of the family (hats, bags, shawls, scarves, jackets, books, and cooking utensils) might increase dramatic play by children from these cultures (Trawick-Smith, 1994). How do the families of children in your classroom dress? What do they eat? What do they carry? If children's parents and grandparents dress like the rest of the population, it is unlikely that adding a happi coat or dashiki will contribute to richer, more meaningful play. As you communicate with family E > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf F Physically vigorous play that involves actions such as chasing, jumping, and play fighting, accompanied by positive affect from the players toward one another, is known as rough-and- tumble, or big-body, play (Carlson, 2009; Pellegrini, 1995). As we have previously noted, rough-and-tumble play is nearly universal in young human males and among the young of other mammals, particularly primates (Brown & Vaughn, 2009; Pellis and Pellis, 2013). If this is true, and because we generally support children's natural play behaviors, you may wonder why we have placed rough-and-tumble play with play issues. Rough-and-tumble play is often discouraged or banned in programs for young children because educators have many fears about it. Teachers fear that play fighting is the same as, or will lead to, real fighting. They worry that rough-and-tumble play will dominate and overshadow other kinds of play. Most of all, they fear that a child may be hurt during rough- and-tumble play. We share some of these concerns. We have seen an inadvertent poke during play fighting turn into a real fight. We have witnessed children so entranced by rough-and- tumble play that they do little else. We have seen children bruised in rough-and-tumble play. So why would you allow rough-and-tumble play in your program? Play researchers point to a number of benefits (Pellis & Pellis, 2007). By its very nature, rough-and-tumble play is physically active, so it builds health as well as providing a way for children to meet their needs for touch. Perhaps more important, children learn the give-and-take of social interactions in rough-and-tumble play. They learn to detect and read social signals and to alternate and change roles as we do in other social interactions. So it may be that by forbidding this natural avenue for social learning, we deny it to the very children who need it most. This dichotomy makes rough-and-tumble play an issue and whether to allow it a dilemma. Should you choose to allow rough-and-tumble play in your classroom (and we do not advocate that you do), be prepared to justify it to families, other staff, and administrators and gain their support. Those who support rough-and-tumble play suggest that you learn to differentiate it from real fighting (in play fighting, children smile and laugh, join the play readily and eagerly, and keep returning for more). Finally, you must ensure children's safety and well-being by providing an appropriate environment (enough space, padded surfaces, and no tripping hazards), guidelines (e.g., no kicking, choking, or hair pulling and listen to others' bodies and words), teaching (e.g., "Tell him, "That hurts. Please let go.'"), and supervision. If these requirements are possible in your setting, you can safely allow this natural form of play. If they are not possible, then you will need to explain to children that rough-and-tumble play is not safe at school. Exclusion-You Can't Say You Can't Play Exclusion is another issue that arises in early childhood classrooms. Exclusion takes a number of forms. Children may overtly exclude one another because of gender (girls only), age (you're too little), or visible differences, such as race or ability (you don't know how to climb, so you can't play). More subtle exclusion may occur when one child is obviously not welcomed into play. What should a teacher do? Some educators believe no child should be excluded from the play of other children. They think that it is important to have a rule like the one phrased by Vivien Paley (1993): "You can't say you can't play.” Such a rule is designed to ensure equity and build empathy as children are asked to consider the feelings of children who are excluded. Others feel that this is interfering in the natural play choices of children and thus in the development of social skills. While there is no definitive way of handling exclusion in early childhood programs, there are some things you can do when children are being excluded from play: • Be clear and unambiguous about exclusion that is unacceptable and create scripts that match your beliefs and values. “This classroom (material, area) is for everyone in our class. Boys get to play and girls get to play. Everyone gets a turn." • Help children include others in the play: “Tell Lydia how to be a space alien so that she can play too. Show her how to get in your spaceship without knocking it down." • If one child is regularly excluded, find ways to give that child particularly desirable responsibilities: "I need someone to help me get the lunch from the kitchen. Ethan, can you come with me, and can you choose one friend to go with us?" > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf d. E monkeys. Young male monkeys, like boys, show consistent and strong preferences for wheeled toys, while young female monkeys, like girls, showed greater variability in preferences. The similarities suggest that nature rather than nurture lies behind at least some of the gender play differences that you are likely to see. Other gender differences in play may be attributed to gender stereotyping. From birth, adults tend to describe girl babies as little, soft, and pretty and boy babies as big, strong, and active -even when identical in size and activity level. Differences are magnified by the manufacturers of products for children-T-shirts, toys, lunch bags, books, sheets and towels, and even disposable diapers come emblazoned with gender-stereotyped decorations. These give children a clear message beyond "pink is for girls and blue is for boys." They say that boys should be active and aggressive, while girls should be passive and pretty. They suggest that play must conform to the expectations of society, that there is a preferred way to be a boy or a girl, and that happiness comes from owning the right (gender-specific) stuff. Instead of enhancing imagination and possibilities, these products limit it. Gender-related play characteristics may be influenced by environment and inheritance, but it is difficult to assign primary influence to one or the other. Although the causes remain a mystery, boys at all ages engage in active rough-and-tumble play, use the outdoors, and play in groups more than girls do. Girls begin to prefer same-sex playmates earlier than boys, but both do so between 2 and 5 years of age. By age 5, girls begin to be interested in cross-sex play, but boys tend to persist in their same-sex preference throughout the elementary years. Girls generally prefer art materials, dolls, and small constructive toys and play with them in quieter ways. Boys generally prefer blocks and wheeled vehicles and play with them more noisily and repetitiously. Gir play with toys regardless of gender category generally assigned to an item; boys avoid "girls' toys.” Boys appear to prefer larger groups of playmates from preschool age through the primary years, while girls show a marked preference for small groups (Johnson et al., 2005). All of us know individual children who do not conform to these gender-related play behaviors. Averages or norms are not individuals-all girls are active at times, and all boys engage in quiet play at times. It is important to remember that both girls and boys explore, build, and pretend and need our support in fully realizing their play potential. The similarities are more important than the differences. We believe it is reasonable for early childhood educators to take steps to avoid gender stereotyping in the materials offered to girls and boys-to make certain that both males and females are offered a wide range of play materials. Similarly, the environment can be arranged to encourage all children to participate in the same play activities. One way to encourage more diverse play for both boys and girls is to integrate block areas (particularly areas for large hollow blocks) and dramatic play areas. The building and dramatic play then naturally merge. If you wanted to encourage Drew and Jason (described in the vignette at the beginning of this section on diversity) to engage in some art and literacy activities, an easel set up in a corner of the playground or a blanket beneath a tree stocked with books might attract them as a quiet break from more rambunctious play episodes. The same setup might entice Siow Ping and her friends to the playground, where they may discover some more vigorous activities to enjoy. Another important way to overcome gender-stereotyped play is through your expectations and behavior. As you practice ball skills with girls and involve boys in domestic dramatic play episodes, you are taking small, important steps toward breaking down gender stereotypes that limit the choices of children in our culture. Never allow children to exclude others from play based on gender or to tease children when they choose non-traditional sex roles, dress, or activities in their play. Similarly, avoid reinforcing stereotypes by saying that a child plays like a "typical" boy or girl. Violent Dramatic Play Children's play reflects their experience. In today's world they are exposed to violent television programming. They have heard their parents talk about events like the shootings at Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon bombing, or the Orlando nightclub shooting. Many live in communities where violence or fear of violence is a part of daily life. In many families, violence on television and violent video games are part of family entertainment. This makes it → + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Amlin ... ducation.pdf E • Teach excluded children to handle disappointments and find alternatives: "Cielo and Jasmin are friends. Right now they don't want to play with anyone else. That makes you sad, but there are other things for you to do. Would you like to draw with me and Soullee or help Baylor with his block structure?" Reflect On Play You've Observed Think about a classroom you recently observed. How did the children play? How did the adults facilitate play? What seemed to be their attitudes toward play? Did you observe violent dramatic play or gender-stereotyped play? How did it make you feel? How did the adults respond? What impact did this have on children? Shrinking Opportunities for Play When you think the play you engaged in during your childhood, you might remember hours spent climbing, sliding, pretending, swinging, running, and riding bikes. But the quantity and quality of play available to children today has changed. Factors that have limited or changed young children's play include families' hurried lifestyles, changes in family structure, changes in the availability and characteristics of play environments, increased focus on academics and enrichment activities at the expense of play, the substitution of television and video games for active play (Ginsberg, Committee on Communications, & Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, 2007), and a prevalent fear of children being harmed in communities in which neighbors no longer know one another. Children play less today because there are safety issues. In many communities, particularly in areas that are unsafe because of violence or other environmental dangers, children cannot play safely outside the home unless they are under close adult supervision and protection. > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Amlin ... ducation.pdf d. F Source: Jeff Reese Children play less because there are fewer places for them to play. In 1981, concerns with safety and liability in public places resulted in standards for public playground safety (Frost et al., 2011). Although guidelines can help create safe and wonderful playgrounds, implementing guidelines can be costly. In some communities, play structures were removed rather than improved. Children play less because they tend to spend their time being passively entertained through television or computer/video games. According to a 2013 study by Common Sense Media, children ages 0-8 spend just under 2 hours/day engaged with in screen-media. Time spent engaged with smartphones or other screen activities, time spent in organized enrichment, and time spent preparing for tests and on other academics leaves little time for the active and creative play that contributes to children's development. The increase in childhood obesity may be one result of less time for play. Data from two National Health and Nutrition Examination surveys (1976-1980 and 2003-2004) show that childhood obesity is increasing (Centers for Disease Control, 2007). A variety of studies have linked growing obesity rates with increased screen time (Strasburger et al., 2011). The issue of childhood obesity provides a strong argument for the inclusion of active play in the curriculum, particularly outdoor play. Reflect On Your Ethical Responsibilities The principal of your school has decided that with the importance of testing mandates, it is essential to devote more time to preparing children. To this end, recess and physical > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am lin ... ducation.pdf >] F Final Thoughts Understanding the importance of play in supporting and enhancing children's overall growth and learning ensures that you will value it in its own right and make full use of it in your work with children. It is also important not to lose sight of the exuberant, joyful, and nonsensical aspects of play. Treasure the creativity in fantasy and see worlds open up as children pretend. Appreciate the bravery, joy, and exhilaration as children take risks, laugh hysterically, run, fall, tumble, and roll without restraint. The uninhibited, imaginative quality of play distinguishes child from adult, and play from all other activities. Teachers who appreciate and understand the power of play can help children realize their human potential. You may need to become an advocate for children and play. This role can be hard if other educators and children's families don't understand its value. We urge you to continue to learn about play and help others understand play's importance not only in learning and health but also as an inoculation against the pressures that society imposes on children. The children in your care need the opportunity to play now. You can speak to support them and safeguard this right. When you do, you give them a precious gift. To Learn More Read • A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play, V. Paley (2004). • A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool: Presenting the Evidence. K. Hirsh-Pasek, R. M. Golinkoff, L. E. Berk, & D. G. Singer (2009). • Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, S. Brown with C. Vaughn (2009). • The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups, E. Christakis (2016). • The Play's the Thing: Teachers' Roles in Children's Play, E. Jones & G. Reynolds (1992). • The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally, D. Elkind (2007). • The War Play Dilemma: What Every Parent and Teacher Needs to Know, D. Levin & N. Carlsson-Paige (2006). Visit a Website The following agencies and organizations have websites related to play: Alliance for Childhood (includes links and articles on play, playgrounds, and play policy) Association for Play Therapy (includes videos and information on the value of play in general and in emotional development) Defending the Early Years (search for "Play") International Play Association (IPA) The Strong National Museum of Play National Institute for Play Additionally, most early childhood professional associations have information, position > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf E almost certain that in any group, some children will introduce violence and war play into dramatic play. Although early childhood educators generally encourage children's spontaneous dramatic play, it is common for gunplay to be forbidden. The proscription of gunplay and war play is a response to the fact that it tends to dominate otherwise peaceful classrooms. Additionally, in violent dramatic play, children tend to imitate the stereotypic behavior of media characters and the violent action of the programs they see. Imitation and repetition replace imagination and creativity (Levin & Carlsson-Paige, 2006). This dilemma requires a decision. Should you prohibit children's violent dramatic play or allow children to play out any drama they choose? In deciding whether and how to intervene, it helps to understand some of the reasons that children are attracted to violent dramatic play: • In a world where they are virtually powerless, young children are drawn to power. They are fascinated by powerful superheroes, weapons, and machines. • Dramatic play about violence provides a safe way to work through a fear. • Violent dramatic play involves fast action and a thrilling chase. Adults find this exciting, and so do children. • Toy weapons and accessories are often realistic. This realism is tantalizing and often creates a strong response in other children and adults. • Sophisticated television marketing aimed at children evokes intense interest. Reflect On Your Ethical Responsibilities You disagree with the other teachers in your school over whether to allow children to engage in violent pretend play. As a staff, you have decided that all forms of pretend guns and fighting are forbidden. A child in your class often pretends to shoot other children. You know this child has gone through some rough times, and you feel this play is important to him. Using the Guidelines for Ethical Reflection in Chapter 1 of this book, reflect on your ethical responsibilities in this situation. Several strategies may help you in coping with violent dramatic play in your program: • Observe the play to help you understand what it means to the children. • Come to some basic agreements with your coworkers over the limits you will place on violent dramatic play in your setting. Even if you disagree, it's important for there to be consistency in how teachers respond. Whatever your decisions, it is never acceptable to allow children to hurt or bully one another. • Facilitate children's play by asking questions to increase empathy, such as, “How does the bad guy feel? Who does he play with when he goes home? What does he do on his birthday?" In doing so, it is possible to help children to think beyond stereotypes. • Encourage children to play pretend roles of powerful people who help or rescue without violence such as firefighters, ambulance drivers, and emergency medical technicians. • Whatever decision you reach about the acceptability of dramatic play depicting violence, guide children in understanding when, where, and what behaviors will not interfere with the group. Just as yelling and shouting disturbs others indoors, shooting and crashing is also disruptive. Help children to think of where and when this kind of play will not disturb other people. In a society where violence is prevalent, we cannot eliminate children's fascination with violence. We can provide children with alternatives (ask the bad guys why they want to shoot you up) and help them learn to be responsible and thoughtful members of their community. Rough-and-Tumble Play E > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf F The NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards that apply to this chapter: Standard 1: Promoting Child Development and Learning (NAEYC, 2009) Key elements: • 1a: Knowing and understanding young children's characteristics and needs • 1c: Using developmental knowledge to create healthy, respectful, supportive, and challenging learning environments Standard 4: Using Developmentally Effective Approaches to Connect with Children and Families Key elements: • 4a: Understanding positive relationships and supportive interactions as the foundation of their work with children • 4b: Knowing and understanding effective strategies and tools for early education • 4c: Using a broad repertoire of developmentally appropriate teaching/learning approaches • 4d: Reflecting on their own practice to promote positive outcomes for each child Standard 5: Using Content Knowledge to Build Meaningful Curriculum Key elements: • 5a: Understanding content knowledge and resources in academic disciplines • 5b: Knowing and using the central concepts, inquiry tools, and structures of content areas or academic disciplines • 5c: Using their own knowledge, appropriate early learning standards, and other resources to design, implement, and evaluate meaningful, challenging curricula for each child K + 3 7 기 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf -- F statements, and publications on play. Association for Childhood Education International National Association for the Education of Young Children Southern Early Childhood Association Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Their Families Document Your Skill & Knowledge About Play in Your Professional Portfolio Include some or all of the following: • Photos or a videotape of you as you engage with children and assume one of the supportive roles-stage manager, observer, protector/mediator, participant, tutor or guide-described in the text. Include a written description of how children responded to you and how your actions enhanced their play. • A poster or brochure that you have designed to teach noneducators (such as children's family members) about the value of play. Choose a play material (e.g., play dough), a type of play (e.g., dramatic play), or a play experience (e.g., jumping rope) and create a brochure or poster that shows how this kind of play experience contributes to young children's development. • A Structured Play Observation Record that you have completed. Observe a child at play and use the Parten-Piaget Social-Cognitive Play Profile (Figure 9.2) to develop a profile of the type of play you observed. Include this record and a description of your findings regarding the ages and stages of play; or observe a group of children and use the Group Sociodramatic Play Profile (Figure 9.3) to develop a profile of the elements of sociodramatic play most prevalent in that group. Include a description of your findings and what these suggest in terms of Smilansky's theories regarding sociodramatic play. K > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf >] F Chapter10 The Curriculum ET Source: Jeff Reese The belief that all genuine education comes about through experience does not mean that all experiences are genuinely or equally educative. JOHN DEWEY, EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION, 1938 Chapter Learning Outcomes: 1. 10.1 Explain what curriculum is in early childhood programs and how and why it is different from curriculum for older children. 2. 10.2 Summarize the components of the physical development curriculum: gross and fine motor development and sensory awareness. 3. 10.3 Describe the communication curriculum areas: language, literacy, and literature. 4. 10.4 Identify and explain the creative arts curriculum areas: art, music, creative movement, and aesthetics. 5. 10.5 Recognize and describe the inquiry curriculum areas: math, science, and social studies. NAEYC Professional Preparation Standards > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:18 AM 7 15% « drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf >] F You are becoming an early childhood educator. You are learning to teach young children. Nothing so clearly distinguishes you as a professional early childhood educator as your knowledge of what young children can learn in the early years and your ability to use appropriate pedagogy, in other words, teaching methods, to help them learn in ways that preserve their zest for learning. Source: Jeff Reese In this chapter we will give you a taste of early childhood curriculum to help you think about curriculum and how children learn. We hope you enjoy this taste and are inspired to learn more. K + 3 7 기 1 T-Mobile 10:19 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am lin... ducation.pdf 出 F How Young Children Learn Young children are learning all the time, from all their experiences, both in and out of school. Because of this, early childhood educators need to ask themselves, "How, when, and in what ways do I want to participate in this natural process?" In order to design and implement meaningful and appropriate learning experiences, you need to know about young children and how they learn. You need to understand that all aspects of development are interdependent. This means that curriculum subjects are not distinct entities but rather natural parts of the life of the child. A few basic principles that guide early childhood teaching are outlined in Figure 10.2. • Principle #1: Children learn by doing-through play and through concrete, sensory experience. Concepts are learned best when they are directly experienced. • Principle #2: Children learn best when they have many direct experiences with the world around them. Real experience through trips, visitors, and real-world activities are essential for learning. • Principle #3: Children need to reflect on their actions and experiences by playing, painting, building, singing, dancing, and discussing their observations and experiences. This is how they reconstruct their experiences and construct concepts (see Figure 10.3). • Principle #4: Children formulate concepts over time and through repeated experiences. Teachers who understand how children learn are careful to plan so that children can repeat experiences, many times. • Principle #5: Each child learns in a unique way and at an individual pace so we must teach them in diverse ways. Children learn best when they can choose activities that are appropriate and meaningful to them. • Principle #6: Children learn best when adults provide support to help them become more capable. Your job as a teacher is to know many ways to provide support, observe with an open mind and heart, and provide the support needed for each individual child. • Principle #7: Children learn best when there is communication and consistency between home and school. When you involve families in the curriculum, you make it meaningful. BASED ON: E. Moravcik, S. Nolte, & S. Feeney, Meaningful Curriculum for Young Children, © 2013, p. 26. Reprinted and Electronically reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Figure 10.2 Principles of Early Childhood Teaching Figure 10.3 Flying Cockroach with Golden Wings Source: Reprinted with permission from Melanie C. Nishimura. Curriculum in Early Childhood Education What do early childhood educators teach? Every functioning adult knows more about the world than a young child. You have physical skills; you know how to take care of yourself and relate to others; you can read, write, and compute; and you know things about science and nature, the K > + 3 1 T-Mobile 10:19 AM 7 15% A drive.google.com ☺ PDF Who Am I in ... ducation.pdf F →] Just like the 4-year-olds, these toddlers were engaged in a planned discovery activity. They were using their senses, building physical coordination, and learning concepts about the world. Their learning was skillfully guided by a teacher who knows about how toddlers learn. In addition, they were developing language, confidence, and a sense of self-reliance. It is morning work time in the kindergarten class. Five children are working on their 100th-day collections (making trays with 100 things on them). Four more are constructing a block model of the path from their classroom to the cafeteria. Two sit on pillows in the library corner, reading books. Two more are finishing their morning journal assignment. One is painting using watercolors. Kit and Sierra are examining Checkers, a tortoise that was recently added to the classroom discovery center. They are looking at a book on tortoises. They ask Ms. Narvaez, their teacher, "Can Checkers eat hamburger?" She says, "That's a good question....
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Purpose and Value of Play

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Purpose and Value of Play
Play is an essential part of child development. It helps children learn about the world and
sets a stage for them to practice skills and solidify concepts (Irvin, 2017). Teachers also assess
children by observing how they play. It helps the teacher identify the strengths, weaknesses,
likes, and dislikes of a child, hence enabling tailor-made teaching techniques. Observations also
help the teacher learn about what the kid understands and can do. Moreover, the play gives more
insight into the child's character, enabling the teacher to handle them more appropriately. For a
child, play is like work which builds much-needed emotional, cognitive, physical, social, and
language wellbeing (Singh, 2019). Besides, children can relieve stress and anxiety through play.
An example of play that supports each developmental domain is dress-up and role play. It
involves letting the children loose with various props such as chef clothing, doctor's kit,
astronaut suits, nurse uniforms, toy police clothing, and many others. Kindergarten kids, in
particular, are enthused by this type of play. Once let loose, their emotions run wild as every kid
dresses up in their preferred garment. Soon, you can discover the doctor, chef, police officer, or
astronaut because dressing up helps children make sense of the adult world, promotes social
interaction, and helps determine their interests. In addition, it helps create the importance of selfcare in children, which is critical in their primary school life. Therefore, playing is healthy for a
child, and the more they engage in games, the more they learn.
For their physical devel...

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