Play is the main way in which children learn and therefore play affects all aspects of a child’s development. Valuing children’s play: Props should be encouraged. Allow the use of their own experience. Own interests. Playing on their own should be encouraged. Work in a way that suits them. Adult encouragement to be engagement. Play as a way of communication. Recreate familiar themes. Transport resources to where they wish. Learn best when they are enjoying themselves. Allow for time and space.
Facts about play
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Through play children learn about their world. Play is considered to be a primary need of children. The stages of play change as a child grows older. The characteristics of play change as different stages of development are reached. All children go through the stages of play as they grow develop. Children develop at different rates therefore some children may take longer to go through a particular stage.
Setting 1 – Zoo adventure play area Setting 2 – Park Setting 3 – Beach Setting 1 - A zoo adventure play area is an enclosed area containing play equipment. It has wheel chair, pushchair/pram access.
It has a variety of facilities ranging from a cafe with outdoor seating area for adults to sit and watch their children play to toilet facilities for all. In the play area there is specialised staff for children that have disabilities so they can help them join in with any games that are going on. The play area where the children can play has a safe outside area where children can play without parents worrying about the children getting hurt. The area is animal themed and the toys outside are animal shaped and patterned such as a swing in the shape of a lions mane and is yellow and orange to show it is a lions mane.
A slide is in the shape of a zebra’s tongue the top of the steps is the head and the handles are the mouth opened wide and the slide is the tongue.
Setting 2 – A park is an enclosed area where children can play without parents having to worry about their child going out of the park onto a street near a main road. There may be different parts in the park that are specially designed for each age range. For example: Babies/small children there may be a soft play area, bucket swings that a child can be harnessed into, small low sit on toys and a small slide.
Aged 6 -10 children there may be a bigger slide, seesaw, roundabout, swings, small trampolines, climbing frames and tyre swings. Teenagers there may be basketball courts, tennis courts, football nets, running track, climbing wall/ abseiling wall, golf course, wire swings, zip wire, a weather pitch for all sports and a big trampoline that has a net around it to keep them safe whilst jumping.
Setting 3 – The beach is a large area containing sand and water. The children like making sand castles. They also like feeling the different textures e. g. Water and sand mixed together. The children also have a chance to have a donkey ride.
There are also ramps for access for wheel chairs, push chairs/ prams. On the beach there needs to be parental supervision. Age range for zoo – between 18-24 months to 16years Stage of play for the zoo is spectator aged between 18 months – 24months to 4 years and co – operative play for aged 4+ children. Age range for park – 2 years to 16 years Stage of play for the park is spectator 24 months to 4 years and co –operative for aged 4+ children. Age range for beach – 2 years to 16years Stage of play is spectator 24 months to 4 years and co –operative for aged 4+ children.
Co – operative play is where children play together with shared goals. Play can be quite complicated and children are supportive. D3) The type of play that goes on is: Zoo – physical play Park – pretend play Beach – discovery play Zoo – At the zoo children would be involved in physical play. They would do this by finding different equipment to play on. Using all the different equipment they would exercising which would form their muscles, stamina, balance and Co-ordination. Park – At the park they would find different equipment to play on.
They would pretend to act out things and pretend that they are other people. This will enable children to use their imagination and develop their own imaginative ideas. (Walker M, Beaver, M Brewster, J Neaum, S and Tallack, J 2008 Page 195) Beach – They would discover sand and water. They would also discover mixing sand and water. They may find shells, crabs, star fish and jelly fish. D4) Zoo is physical play – An example of a zoo play area would be playing on the monkey bars which would be developing their gross motor skills. This will develop whole body and limb movements, co-ordination and balance.
Walker M, Beaver, M Brewster, J Neaum, S and Tallack, J 2008 page 194) Park is pretend play – An example of pretend play at a local park would be a child playing on a climbing frame that has a wheel on it and they are pretending it is a ship/boat, aeroplane/helicopter. Beach is discovery play – An example of a beach would be discovering different shells, sea life, boats, and textures of sand by building sand castles. Mixing sand and water together to make sand pies. Developing knowledge and understanding of the world. D5) Beach discovery play and Maria Montessori theory. The main points of Maria Montessori’s theory are:
- Children pass through particular development stages. This is the essential for the child to be able to learn.
- Montessori developed a structured education programmed based on these stages, including a number of specially devised pieces of equipment that encourage children to develop certain skills.
- Limited emphasis is placed on counting, reading and writing these will follow once the basic social and emotional development has taken place.
- A Childs natural will to learn should be encouraged to foster a lifelong motivation for learning.
- Children should be encouraged to work alone.
- Montessori felt the best learning occurred when children were focused, silent and completely absorbed in a task.
- Montessori did not believe in free play and did not encourage children to develop their own ideas –play needed to have a learning focus.
Maria Montessori believed that children learn by doing practical activities and by playing outdoors.
Setting 1 – zoo adventure play area
In the adventure play area with children aged 18-24 months to 16 years, an obstacle course could be arranged to include either a route over a high climbing frame or a lower route through it.
The risks would be bumping into others, slipping and falling. I have chosen this activity as it will allow children to understand risks e. g. heights, bumping of the body parts. The challenge would be learning their limitations.
Setting 2 – park
In the park with children aged 2 years to 16 years, a park play area could be set up in the shape of a trim trail to include a variety of apparatus that provide challenges. The risks would be bumping into others, slipping and falling. The risks that the children will learn to understand are bumping into other children, slipping on play equipment and falling off of play equipment.
The challenge that they might have to overcome is to see how high they can swing on a swing whilst feeling comfortable. Setting 3 – beach On the beach with children aged 2 years to 16 years, provide activities e. g. digging and making sand castles which challenges them to be sensible when handling the sand. The risk would be getting sand in their/other people’s eyes, risk of drowning in the sea, risk of being bitten by crabs and getting stung by jelly fish. The risks could be getting sand in their eyes, getting bitten by animals and drowning in the water. The challenge they will have to vercome is learning about what can happen if they touch certain animals. Challenge and risk activity chosen in was obstacle course. Resources that would be used:
- Climbing frame with monkey bars, lower and higher side.
- Under and over bars.
Health and safety equipment:
- Safe area.
- Knee pads and elbow pads.
- Safety mats, non slip floor.
- Appropriate footwear, clothing.
These resources have been chosen because: For children’s own welfare and safety. They allow children to achieve the learning outcomes that have been planned for.
They meet individual children’s needs- D7. Provides different levels of play for age range and ability. Challenge and risk activity chosen in (D6) was trim trail. Resources that would be used:
- Apparatus e. g. swings, balance walking logs, climbing nets, tyres, swinging logs.
- Health and safety equipment:
- Safe area.
- Knee pads, elbow pads.
- Appropriate footwear and clothes
These resources have been chosen because: For children’s own welfare and safety. They are appropriate to age range and stage of development of the children. They meet individual children’s needs – D7.
Setting 3 – Beach
Challenge and risk chosen in (D6) was digging sandcastles. Resources that would be used:
Health and safety:
- Clean area.
- Safe area.
- Supervision from parent’s/carers.
These resources have been chosen because: Encourages exploration. Encourages open minded play. Giving children activities that challenge them and make them understand risks by: Build’s up resilience as they become more aware of challenges that they will experience in the future and it will help them to become more comfortable, confident when faced with the kind of challenge. Bruce D. Perry M. D. Ph. D Professor of Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences). Develops an awareness of potential hazards. Younger children's awareness of hazards is further raised through staff's gentle reminders, for example, prior to activities, such as cooking. Children benefit from individual towels and soap dispensers, which reduce the risk of cross infection. To, ensure that the risk of potential hazards is minimised. Children also develop confidence and self-esteem because staffs build positive, trusting relationships with them. (Ofsted Creche report) Prevents boredom.
As young children don't understand time the way grown-ups do but boredom is not always a bad thing, it can also get children thinking creatively and can pay to take a more active role in preventing boredom. (Sanders, M. R. ; Christenson, A. P. Builds confidence. As they do the activities again again they will have confidence in doing the activity as they will know how to do it. Potential learning opportunity such as they learn that you have to follow instructions to get to the end product. Provides mental stimulation. E. g. helps children to function for longer.
Maria Montessori developed a method for young children, which was rooted in the senses and involves manipulating everyday objects and following highly structured activities that engage children but rarely allow them to fail.
Adult led sessions are often used to introduce children to exploration and investigation through play. This helps them to develop their own play agenda and ideas. Children appreciate adults who help to keep their play flowing as long as they don’t take over. How they would do this?
Exploration: Involve them in activities. E. g. Building Sandcastles, Finding sea shells and stones. Encourage them to learn about new things. For example colours, numbers and letters. Plan activities that relate to children’s experiences. How they would do this for investigation: Provide equipment. E. g. Bucket and spade or binoculars and magnifying glass. Provide plenty of time. To allow children to finish the activity so they get the whole potential. Present activities that allow solving problems e. g. floating and sinking. Allow the children to work together. So they can work as a team member and listen to other children’s ideas and try to solve things together. Introduce new subjects and topics.
To help develop further knowledge. Name of theorist wrote about in D5 was Maria Montessori. Maria’s main ideas and theories are: Children pass through particular developmental stages. This is essential for the child to be able to learn. Montessori developed a structured education programme based on these stages including a number of specially developed pieces of equipment that encourage children to develop certain skills. Limited emphasis is placed on counting reading and writing. Children should be encouraged to work alone. To encourage confidence in what they think.
Montessori did not believe in free play and did not encourage children to develop their own ideas. Influences on today’s practice: There are many Montessori schools throughout Europe usually privately run. The method promotes a carefully planned environment that neither allows children total freedom nor imposes activities on them. Some nurseries follow the plan completely and purchase Montessori equipment and use her theories with a flexible programme.
- What difference (if any) might there be if the adult was aware of this theory?
If the adult was aware of the theory the adult would be aware of discovery play and be able to plan activities in more depth. They will also be aware of the benefits of discovery play. How do you think the theory will affect an adults understanding of children’s play? They might think that something that the child is playing is not discovery. So this might not give the children as many opportunities. The role of the adult in providing activities and supporting children’s play is to provide relevant resources to enable children to do specific activities e. g. ard making needs – card, glue, sticking things/materials. An adult also sets out a play area for the children to play in. Adults make suggestions to widen the children’s knowledge and to support them when playing. Adults should also ask the children questions to develop their understanding. The adult considers the children’s needs e. g. provide activities for different levels of needs – (D7). I had no idea that there was so much to play. I had no idea that there was a lot of planning towards play and how play was actually structured rather than just giving a child a toy and telling them to play.
- www. teachingexpertise. com
- http://nationalstrategies. standards. dcsf. gov. uk
- www. ofsted. gov. uk
- www. raisingchildren. net. au
- Tassoni P, Hucker K (2005) Planning Play and the Early Years 2nd Edition. Oxford – Heinemann (Page 163)
- Walker, M Beaver, M Brewster, J Neaum, S and Tallack, J (2008) Child care and Education CACHE Level 2 Cheltenham; Nelson Thornes LTD (Page 195)
- Garhart M C, (2000) Theories of childhood—an introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erickson, Piaget and Vygestsky. Redleaf Press – Yorkton (Page 21-37)
- Sanders, M. R. ; Christenson, A. P. (1985). A comparison of the effects of child management and planned activities training across five parenting environments. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Pages 13, 101-117.
- Professional People Bruce D. Perry, M. D. , Ph. D. , is the Thomas S. Trammell Research Professor of Child Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine; and Chief of Psychiatry, Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas.
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