Ed 260, Fall 2009 Week #3, Sept 21, Play Under Siege

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Ed 260, Fall 2009 Week #3, Sept 21, Play Under Siege

  1. 1. September 21, 2009 Play Under Siege
  2. 2.  NPR Audio clip: Old Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills  Finishing Chudacoff: Chapter 6  Defining the Problem: Why is play “under siege”?  So how do we respond? Advocacy work needed  Making the learning in play visible  Vivian Gussin-Paley  Tutorial on Uploading Photos and video to your Wiki Page
  3. 3.  Rise of mass-marketing to children. Mickey-mouse Club and Barbies introduced. “Disney and Mattel wedged themselves between parents and children”  Longer life-spans meant more living grandparents to indulge children Birth rates down in 1970s-80s…fewer children at home to play with and fears about protection led to more adult supervision.  Concerns increase for “safeguarding children from all hazards”. Spock and other experts spoke about “shielding vulnerable children” from risk to health and safety. Parents turned to the courts when their children were injured outside of their supervision. “Tightly controlled play activity”: 1972 US Consumer Product Safety Commission begins to recall “unsafe” toys and standards for playground equipment.  “As the values and goals of success have been switched from acquisition of material things to educational and personal achievement, middle class parents have become less and less patient with the “wastefulness of play.” Upwardly mobile parents wanted their pre-adolescent kids to be better than average in all things, so they tried to provide them with professionally run activities that would enrich their minds, tone their bodies, inculcate physical skills, and enhance their self-esteem.” (p. 165)
  4. 4. Why is children’s play “under siege”?  How has this personally affected you? Think about examples of the pressures you feel to transition away from play-based pedagogy.  What is the discourse you hear about this?  How do you respond?
  5. 5. Making visible the need for advocacy….  Challenge this historical trend that is taking us backward  Understand the many roots to the problem  Have a thorough understanding of what children accomplish through play  Articulate your position with professional knowledge and awareness of the research
  6. 6.  Fantasy play as a “leading factor” in children’s development, “in play it is as though he were a head taller than himself” Zone of Proximal Development  Make sense of their world. Organize it. Find order/pattern/predictability.  Symbolic Thinking. Make believe play frees the child’s thinking from concrete experience and concrete perception allowing the child to master higher levels of thinking, “pivots”  Unrealizable Desires. When needs can’t be met immediately, they can meet them through play.  Rules/Self-Restraint. A central function of play for children is self-restraint as children learn to follow set social rules in imaginary play.  Play as a context for acquiring culturally sanctioned meanings  Play as the natural language of children’s feelings
  7. 7.  Children express mature, adult-level concepts and themes in their play: friendship, safety, power, abandonment, recovery, explorations of identity, emotions like jealousy and pleasure  We ”use fantasy play to calm our anxieties and re- assemble ourselves”  Paley also argues that fantasy play helps children develop the disposition of having an “open mind”.
  8. 8.  “Today fantasy play is at the barricades with fewer and fewer teachers willing to step up and defend the natural style and substance of early childhood”(p. 32)  Teachers are concerned with the content that is coming out in children’s play so they steer away from it” (p. 7)  “We are in danger of delegitimatizing mankind’s oldest and best-used learning tool” (p.8) 
  9. 9. How have you seen a child:  Acting a “head taller” than him/herself in play?  Using pivots in play?  Following specific “rules” in play that require his/her self-regulation skills?  Using play to address unrealizable desires?  Embedding his/her fears and feelings in play?
  10. 10.  No class. We will have a reading reflection.  I will put the audio clip for Tools of the Mind (creative Play makes for kids in Control) on the front page of the wiki. Try to listen to it. It is approx. 9 minutes in length.  Begin working on your 1st experience of adult heart play  Who can bring in digital toys to share for class in two weeks?

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