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PLAY – the ultimate challenge for practitioners?.

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Presentation on theme: "PLAY – the ultimate challenge for practitioners?."— Presentation transcript:

1 PLAY – the ultimate challenge for practitioners?

2 The child’s perspective 1 I personally feel that play is vital to their development, learning and well-being.  Children themselves define play as to the where, when and with whom it takes place (Wing 1994; Howard 2002), how much control and choice they have and who they are playing with (King and Howard 2014).  It’s also clear from a vast amount of research that play is self-initiated, intrinsically worthwhile, flexible, creative, free from externally imposed rules, is repetitive, pleasurable and creates a feel-good factor  it gives children agency and voice – something they rarely have in their young lives

3 The child’s perspective 2 AND … We know that children perceiving play or not play has a significant impact on how they behave and ‘perform’ during tasks.

4 PLAY IN EDUCATIONAL CONTEXTS Recently, I’ve more and more come to the view that we can rarely provide for what I’ve termed ‘pure’ play in educational contexts. Perhaps what we are providing is playful learning and teaching experiences – playful pedagogies.

5 Play – Practitioner’s perspective So, as practitioners working and playing with children, we need to be clear what it is we can really provide and whether it really is ‘play’.  What provision do we actually make for play?  And is it really play (as in the child’s perspective)?  Or is what we provide ‘playful’?  And what is the difference? To me, there are clear differences between:  ‘pure’ play  playful teaching  playful learning

6 ‘PURE’ PLAY … under the control of the child(ren). It is initiated and led by the child(ren) and sustained and developed by them for their purposes. It represents activities and responses chosen and owned by the child(ren) and used at their own discretion. It is highly creative, open-ended and imaginative. This ‘pure’ play may questionably be achievable in educational settings but is the type of play which links most closely to children’s intuitive ways of learning. The adult’s role is to make resources available, to be an interested observer (curriculum and assessment) to interact – if invited – and to understand the children’s play from a developmental perspective. This requires a very open-ended planning system by the adults.

7 PLAYFUL LEARNING … learning experiences which are child- or adult-initiated or inspired, which engage the child in playful ways and, as near as possible, reflect the child’s instinct to play. It may be ‘guided’ by playful teaching but, remember, the child may NOT perceive the activity to be (pure) play. Children often learn from one another in this context. The adult’s role is to be sensitive to children’s playful learning modes, make planned provision, model, participate, interact, enhance vocabulary, to perceive curriculum and learning intentions within the play and to observe and assess children’s learning needs linking to planning.

8 PLAYFUL TEACHING … utilises the child’s natural and innate joy in playful learning. It will ensure that ‘tasks’ presented to children are open-ended as far as possible, imaginative and active. Such teaching will draw on resources perceived by children as ‘playful’, but practitioners should not expect the child to see the activities as play. The intention of this teaching must relate to what the child needs to do or find out in the context of what the adult wants the child to learn. The adult’s role is to ensure the tasks are planned and presented in an enjoyable and meaningful way to the child(ren) and to make links with the required curriculum and assessment procedures. This will probably involve ‘sustained shared thinking’ episodes.

9 REFLECTION 1  Can – and perhaps should – we try to achieve ‘pure’ play in educational settings? Why? Why not?  Could the children spend all day in ‘pure’ play contexts and still cover the planned/required curriculum?

10 REFLECTION 2  What would this mean to the ‘teacher’ role? And to training?  If only playful learning/teaching occurs in the classroom, what are children (and practitioners) missing out on?  Should we attempt a balance between the different play pedagogies? Why? (EPPE suggests 50/50 but is this ‘right’ for children/practitioners?)

11 References Howard, J. (2002) Eliciting young children’s perceptions of play, work and learning using the activity apperception story procedure. Early Child Development and Care, 127: 489-502. King, P. and Howard, J. (2014) Children’s Perceptions of Choice in Relation to their Play at Home, in the School Playground and at The Out- of-School Club. Children and Society, 28: 116–127. Moyles, J. (2012) Thinking About Play: Developing a Reflective Approach. Maidenhead: Open University Press. Moyles, J. (2015) The Excellence of Play (4e). Maidenhead: Open University Press. Wing, L. (1995) Play is not the work of the child: young children's perceptions of work and play. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 10(4): 223-247.

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