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Rough and Tumble Play - Michelle Tannock

Amy Shortland

on 8 October 2013

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Transcript of Play

Week 10 Play Presentation
Observing Young Children's Rough-And-Tumble Play

History of Michelle Tannock:
Extensive experience managing Early Childhood Programs
PHD as Associate Professor of EC Education at University of Nevada, Canada
Coordinated & participated in series of studies (R&T play)
Presented findings & research internationally

The On-Going Debate
Is it really play?

Rough and tumble play is a relatively new area of interest.
There has been on-going debate about whether rough and tumble play is actually play. Play is hard to define as it is occurs when there are many activities going on and not isolated around one activity (Tannock, 2011).

As of yet it has not been universally accepted as a form of play although there is research to support it as legitimate. It has been encouraged that further research particularly cross-culturally and in reference to physical activity and play needs to happen before it can be definitively included as 'play'.
Overall findings & Evaluation of Study:
The Superman Escape!
By Michelle Tannock (2011)

R&T play holds value for children:
physical, social & educational development
Michelle's Beliefs
"Rough-and-Tumble play provides unlimited learning opportunities as children are able to:
experiment and take risks, build upon new and existing skills
improve their self esteem and confidence
develop their ability to regulate their attention and persistence." (Tannock, 2005)
"Play is an umbrella word which is impossible to pin down. It has fascinated thinkers since ancient times, as they observed young children at play.
Today, practitioners are finding practical ways of supporting and extending children's development and learning through play" (Bruce, 2004, p.129).

Can you guess...

Today's type of play or practitioner?
Difference between R&T and Real Aggression

The common denominator in rough and tumble play is the 'play face' The play face is a cheerful expression and in some instances may include laughing or smiling. In every single one of the recorded observations the 'play face' was present and the difference between aggression and rough and tumble play.

Aggression is when harm
is intended to another.

Into The Research
Research investigates the R&T Play of 17 five year old children in TWO early childhood day care centres in Western Canada:
1. Privately owned and operated centre in lower level of a family home
2. Independent and non-profit organisation

A total of 10 x 90 minute (900 minutes) observations were made of the daily activities of the participants. 10 sessions were made over 5 week period.
Observations made by a researcher
The teachers were trained on recognition of R&T play. Reliability at 95%.
Children have own choice in determining their own activities

Observations for a typical day over both centres

1. Arrival and free play in early morning
2. Snack and Circle Times in morning
3. Lunch and nap times in the middle of the day
4. Afternoon activity and play times
5. Departure and free play in afternoon

Recording Of Observations and The Criteria Set

No uniform descriptors for the observations
Separate observation sheets were used for each incident of R&T play observed
All observations were made of the “play face” of a cheerful expression, there was no real anger.

116 observations (10 x900min sessions = 90hrs)

The play behaviours:
27 different behaviours identified in total
8 components identified in previous research (Reed & Brown, 2000 and Pellegrini & Smith,1998)
> running, climbing, chasing, play-fighting, fleeing, wrestling, falling and open-handed slaps
19 behaviours not previously identified

The 27 recorded behaviours were grouped into three categories that had common actions:
Physical contact between players
Refers to the direct physical contact between the children.

Children were observed banging their bodies into one another, holding hands whilst dancing and running pushing and pulling each other.
No displays of play-fighting involved physical contact, however they did use kicking motions and hitting motions (fighting behaviours).
Play behaviours in which an
object is an instrumental component
Involves the utilisation of an object within the play.

Some common rough-and-tumble play behaviours observed was jumping on an object such as the couch, kicking a ball and the use of ‘crashing motions’ with a held object (children playing with toy cars and crashing them together).
Independent physical play behaviours
Includes running, rolling around, roaring and using their bodies to make large movements.

Children were observed roaring like a lion, twirling their arms and kicking and swinging their legs which are a ‘hitting motion’ that does not involve any physical contact (random karate moves towards each other).
Further Findings
In one hour: 3.63 rough and tumble incidences occurred on average
Emphasis on major difference in gender participation
-Boys 79.5%
-Girls 20.5%
The most that one boy engaged in some form of rough-and tumble play was 21 times, the least was six times. For the girls, the most was six times and the least was two.
The results of this study indicated that children are exhibiting a pre-operational level of play

Linking It To Theories
Jean Piaget
Piaget identified that play was a crucial medium for cognitive development.
According to Piaget children learn from external experience, they move from basic reflexes to conditioned understandings and choices. This allows children to gain an undestanding of social systems through play and enhances future learning potential.

The social nature of play allows practical experiences to develop an understanding of social rules, social expectations and logical thinking, linking to one’s cognitive development

R&T Links to Theories & EYLF Outcomes
Observations by Reed and Brown (2000):
Older children begin to incorporate more sophisticated elements in R&T play
eg. 6-9year old boys & rules in game > Piaget's concrete operations stage & Vyogtsky's social learning
R&T play develops and changes with a child's growth and development
Physical Contact
between players
Individual Physical
Play behaviours

Play behaviours
involving an object
5 Learning Outcomes
Outcome 1
Children have a strong
sense of identity
DEEWR (2009)
DEEWR (2009)
DEEWR (2009)
DEEWR (2009)
DEEWR (2009)
Outcome 2
Outcome 3
Outcome 4
Outcome 5
Children are connected
with & contribute
to their world
Children have a strong
sense of wellbeing
Children are confident
& involved learners
Children are effective
Research serves as a foundation for a increased understanding of the forms of R&T play
Play behaviours can be categorised into 3 main categories: physical contact between players, use of an object, and independent play behaviours
Going forward....
Difficulties are presented by R&T Play ... educators often lack knowledge of how to respond.
Tannock's 2012 results provide educators with organisational awareness of R&T Play
Reference List

Bruce, T. (2004). Developing learning in early childhood. London: P. Chapman Pub.

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (2009). Belonging, being and becoming –The Early Years Framework for Australia. Canberra. Retrieved September 1, 2013 from http://www.deewr.gov.au/EarlyChildhood/Policy_Agenda/Quality/Pages/EarlyYearsLearningFramework.aspx

Tannock, M. (2011). Observing young children's rough-and-tumble play. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(2), 13-20.

Tannock, M. (2005). The Early Childhood Educator: Fall 2005. Retrieved September 1, 2013, from http://www.ecebc.ca/resources/journal/2008spring/03.html

ThemeparkreviewTPR (2011, March 27). Superman Escape Roller Coaster Front Seat POV Warner Bros Movie World Australia [Video file]. Retrieved September, 15, 2013 from www.youtube.com

TheSamuelJoe (2013, March 16). Toy Story opening - 1995 YouTube [Video File]. Retrieved September 15, 2013 from www.youtube.com

White, F., Hayes, B., & Livesey, D. (2013). Developmental psychology from infancy to adulthood. (3rd ed.). Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Education Australia.
Therefore it is extremely
important for practical experience through
play for cognitive development.
Full transcript