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Modern Perspectives of Play
Transcript of Modern Perspectives of Play
In considering Early Childhood Education, she looked at 3 parts of the curriculum - the child, the context (people and places) and, the content (what the child knows and wants and needs to know) Bruce (1997) drew on 'chaos' theory as a model for play. She argued that play is most fruitful in 'freeflow'. Features of Freeflow Play
• is an active process without a product;
• is intrinsically motivated;
• exerts no external pressure to conform to rules, pressures, goals, tasks or definite directions;
• is about possible alternative worlds which involve ‘supposing’ and ‘as if’, involving being imaginative, original, innovative and creative;
• is about participants wallowing in ideas, feelings and relationships, involving reflecting on and becoming aware of what we know or ‘metacognition’;
• actively uses previous first-hand experiences, including struggle, manipulation, exploration, discovery and practice;
• is sustained, and when in full flow, helps us to function in advance of what we can actually do in our real lives;
• requires the use of technical prowess and competencies we have previously developed, allowing us to be in control;
• can be initiated by a child or an adult;
• can be solitary;
• can be in partnership, or groups of adults and/or children, who will be sensitive to each other;
• is an integrating mechanism, which brings together everything we learn, know, feel and understand. Schemas Athey suggests that in Piaget's early work, he used schema to mean the general cognitive structures that are developing in children under the age of five. She sees schemas as a means to arrive at categories and classifications. For example, a baby will try out a wide range of schema on one object for example, sucking, shaking and throwing. This demonstrates the need and importance of a wide and varied range of experiences. Schemas can be put together over a period of time to create powerful and higher level schemas.
According to Athey, schemas evolve from early actions and perceptions. They are part of the way in which young children make sense of relationships and of the environment around them. Athey identified four stages that children go through in exploring and using schema:
1. a period of physical action where the movement
does not carry any real significance.
2. using schema to symbolise something.
3. beginning to see the functional relationship
between two things.
4. using schema to support thought. During the research project, Athey and her team identified a number of schema including:
•back and forth and side to side
•circular or rotational
•going over, under and on top of
•going around a boundary
•containing and enveloping
•going through a boundary. Schemas are happening in practice all of the time. Children’s dominant interests of the moment will provide ways for them to represent their ideas in which they will include their preferred schema. Athey's theory is built on Piaget's work, and her focus is on young children's spontaneous play and activity. Prior to Athey's research and the publication of her book, the Oxford Pre-School Project researchers (Bruner, Sylva, Wood et al) had argued that activities which required problem-solving or had a definite outcome (completion of a jigsaw, a meccano set, etc) were generally those with the most cognitive challenge and therefore the most educational value. Wood and Bruner had also, following Vygotsky, placed a significant emphasis on the role of the adult in helping children's problem-solving and as tutor to the young child at play. On her current website, Sylva describes the Oxford Pre-School Project as "breaking new ground by questioning an unbridled ‘free play' ideology."
Grenier (2009) http://juliangrenier.blogspot.com/2009/11/schema-theory-in-early-years-education.html http://vimeo.com/7171357 http://www.youtube.com/user/HighScopePreschool?gl=GB#p/u/32/8X6ncsGkAxA Plan Do Review Role of the Adult http://www.youtube.com/user/HighScopePreschool?gl=GB#p/u/21/R18w3AlDGtU http://www.youtube.com/user/HighScopePreschool?gl=GB#p/u/20/6UKZLi6_7xo Adults and Children — Partners in learning
Active learning — whether planned by adults or initiated by children — is the central element of the HighScope Preschool Curriculum. Children learn through direct, hands-on experiences with people, objects, events, and ideas. Trained adults who understand child development and how to scaffold the important areas of learning in the preschool years offer guidance and support. The preschool component of the HighScope Curriculum includes...
A set of teaching practices for adult-child interaction, arranging the classroom and materials, and planning the daily routine.
Curriculum content areas for 3- to 5-year-olds
Assessment tools to measure teaching behaviors and child progress
A training model to help teachers implement the curriculum effectively. TEACHING PRACTICES in the HighScope Preschool Curriculum...
Adult Child Interaction:
In the HighScope approach teachers and children are active partners in the learning process. This balanced approach to adult-child interaction — also called "intentional teaching" — is critical to the effectiveness of the program. It includes techniques for encouraging learning in specific content areas as well as strategies for helping children resolve conflict. The environment:
Classroom arrangement, materials, and equipment. The space and materials in a HighScope setting are carefully arranged to promote active learning. The center is divided into interest areas organized around specific kinds of play; for example, block area, house area, small toy area, book area, sand-and-water area, and art area.
HighScope teachers give preschoolers a sense of control over the events of the day by planning a consistent daily routine that enables the children to anticipate what happens next. Central elements of the preschool daily routine include the plan-do-review sequence, small- and large-group times, greeting time, and outside time. Kathy Sylva is a Professor of Educational Psychology. Whilst teaching at Oxford University, she served on the Oxford Pre-School Research Group which was led by Jerome Bruner. She then published a book called Childwatching at Playgroup and Nursery School which broke new ground as she questioned the total free-play ideology and the limited structure of some of the sessions.
In the 1980s she evaluated the High/Scope pre-school programme which emphasises the ‘plan, do and review’ approach in each session. It was through this work that she began to explore structure within early education. Kathy Sylva thought .... Sonia Jackson, professor of social care and education at the Institute of Education, London, co-wrote, with Goldschmied, the famous People Under Three: Young children in daycare (Routledge). She said, “I had the great privilege of working with Elinor Goldschmied over many years. Her great achievement was to make abstract concepts and scientific knowledge accessible to those who work with babies and young children in everyday settings. Above all, she saw infants and toddlers as individual people whose experiences and feelings are just as important as ours.” Sonia Jackson Heuristic Play Heuristic play is rooted in young children’s natural curiosity. As babies grow, they move beyond being content to simply feel and ponder objects, to wanting to find out what can be done with them. Toddlers have an urge to handle things: to gather, fill, dump, stack, knock down, select and manipulate in other ways. Household or kitchen utensils offer this kind of activity as every parent knows, and can occupy a child for surprising stretches of time. When toddlers make an enjoyable discovery – for instance when one item fits into another, or an interesting sound is produced – they often repeat the action several times to test the result, which strengthens cognitive development as well as fine muscle control and hand/eye coordination.
Community Products (2007-2011) http://www.communityplaythings.co.uk/resources/articles/heuristic-play.html In their book, People under Three, Elinor Goldschmied and Sonia Jackson coined the term heuristic play, to explain how to provide a more structured opportunity for this kind of activity. Heuristic play ‘consists of offering a group of children, for a defined period of time in a controlled environment, a large number of different kinds of objects and receptacles with which they play freely without adult intervention’. It is particularly useful for children in their second year who often seem unwilling to engage in any activity for more than a few minutes. According to the Oxford Dictionary, ‘heuristic’ means helping to find out or discover; proceeding by trial and error. It stems from the same root as Eureka – ‘I found it!’ Clare Crowther of Bridgwater College describes heuristic play as ‘an activity we use with one-year-olds, two-year-olds, and young threes, giving them the opportunity to experiment spontaneously with a wide range of non-commercial objects. Whilst the heuristic play session is in process, adults need to remain seated and quiet. This supports children in making their own choices and discoveries.’ For babies and toddlers heuristic play is very different.
Heuristic play with babies revolves around the use of the Treasure Basket - the Treasure Basket can be used with babies from the time that they can sit unaided to around 16-18 months, during this phase the primary question a baby would ask if they could talk would be 'What is the object like?'. The Treasure Basket is a ridged low sided round basket filled with 'objects' from the 'real world' these 'objects' are made from any material but plastic, and come from a variety of sources in nature and the around the house. It is through handling and exploring these objects that a baby develops contact with the outside world, and begins to make their own choices and decisions. The predominant way that babies under the age of one discover and learn about their world is through sensory motor development, during this stage a baby's primal instinct is to explore objects by handling and mouthing them in order to find out about their physical characteristics. By using a treasure basket with children at this age you are providing them with rich mental stimulation, which not only activates the growth of the brain but also provides richly satisfying experiences for the baby. For a Treasure Basket to be an effective tool in the play and development of babies, the most important factor is an attentive and calm caregiver, who creates a relaxed atmosphere and is available to the child during their play and exploration. The adults role in the use of the treasure basket is to sit near by and be attentive, responsive and unobtrusive - the baby needs to be able to make their own choices about which objects they are going to pick up and how they are going to explore them without interference. To an outsider looking in on baby exploring a treasure basket, it may appear that the adult is doing 'nothing', but a baby will have a much richer and more stimulating experience, developing confidence and concentration when they can explore at their own pace, with out being 'shown' things and 'how' to use them by an adult, as there is no right or wrong way for a baby to explore or use the materials.
Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks (2008-2011) http://www.littleacornstomightyoaks.co.uk/Articles/Treasure_basket For toddlers:
The question posed when participating in heuristic play is 'What can I do with this object?'. Toddlers have a natural curiosity to explore, and experiment with the different ways that objects interact with each other, a toddler will investigate with all the physical possibilities of an object, by rolling, filling, stacking, dumping, fitting things inside each other, balancing and manipulating an object in every possible way. Toddlers who are able to freely explore in this way can make satisfying discoveries about how the world works, by exploring area's such as gravity, spacial awareness, density, and simple physics, which builds their cognitive development, hand/eye co-ordination and fine and gross motor skills. As with the treasure baskets, it is important that children are able to engage in heuristic play without instruction or interference. The role of the adult in this type of play is to support and observe children during their play. The types of materials that an adult will provide to children during heuristic play, differ slightly to what was offered to babies during the treasure basket phase. During this phase when a toddlers primary question is 'What can I do with it?' it is important to provide a range of objects that can be used together. It is a nice idea to make up a range of 'activity kits' with a purpose in mind, but then to let the children explore them and use them as they would like to, remembering that there is no right or wrong way to engage in this type of play. Try and think of all of the different ways that objects can interact with each other, and provide objects that allow children to experiment with these different ideas:
Boxes, tins with lids, cotton reels, cones, coasters, pieces of wood etc.
A box with a small slit in the top, tubes, pegs, shells, stones etc.
Dolly pegs to peg around a box or a stainless steel bowl etc.
Curtain rings, paper towel holder, cup tree, bangles/bracelets, lengths of chain/beads, ribbon,
Balls or different sizes and textures, tubes, a ramp made from a cardboard box, cones,
pompoms, wooden door knob, cone shaped shells etc.
Shells, stones, pine cones, leaves etc.
Containers and lids, pairs of objects etc.
Baskets with handles, large jars, bags, containers with small and large openings etc.
Baskets that fit inside one another etc.
Metal objects, small objects to put in jars and be shaken, a wooden stick for banging etc. Corinne Hutt (1979) created a taxonomy of play –attempting to categorize play into different types. According to Hutt, broadly speaking, the three main categories of play are:
• epistemic play – within which children learn
and explore the world and its properties;
• ludic play – when children are using their
imaginations but are not learning;
• games with rules – structured activities. Epistemic & Ludic Play and Games with Rules Hutt (1981) uncovered substantial behavioral differences when children are in the epistemic mode vs. ludic mode. In the epistemic period of play, the children’s attitude is that of seriousness and focus, followed by intense, attentive investigation of all aspects of the toy. Once their investigation is over, they then proceeded to handle the toy playfully. As children transitioned to the ludic mode, in a relaxed manner they proceed to apply the knowledge gained through investigation in their play.
Kolb and Kolb (2009) Recent developments in neuroscience reveal how the external manifestation of play is connected to the internal functioning of the brain. Hannaford (1995) contends that play operates as an integrative process between the limbic system and the frontal lobe of
the neo-cortex, by transforming and integrating the sensory stimuli into meaningful thoughts and behaviors. This is similar to Zull’s ( 2002) description of how brain
functioning follows the process of experiential learning. Different modes of play behavior seem to be related to different ways the brain processes information.
The epistemic behavior seems to correspond to the left hemisphere of the brain’s functioning, which is abstract, symbolic, analytical, rational and logical, whereas ludic behavior may be associated with the right hemisphere, which is synthetic, concrete, analogic, nonrational, spatial, intuitive and holistic (Edwards, 1989). The studies of animal play in neuroethology suggest that humans and other mammals share similar play behaviors associated with their neural plasticity (Height and Black, 2000). A cross species comparative study suggests that play has a central role in brain development, facilitating the integration of cognitive, social, affective, and sensorimotor systems in mammals.
(Bekoff and Byers, 1998; Fagen, 1981; Smith, 1982, 1984, all cited in Kolb and Kolb, 2009).