Learning Portfolio Courtney OatesFoundations of Curriculum ECE1020 Linda Taylor November 8, 2012
WHAT IS PLAY? Play is learning. Children learn about the social, community, and cultural world. They learn how to cooperate and communicate with one another. They develop all kinds of skills such as: Social, moral, creativity, emotional and problem solving. Origin of the word “Play” – pleien (Dutch) meaning to “dance, leap for joy, and rejoice” (class notes).
SOCIETAL ISSUES AND CHILDREN’S PLAY Childhood obesity- They make poor choices in their eating habits. This makes the brain work slower- Screen time. Their bodies are idle, not being active.- The length of play is shortened due to inability to keep up actively with the rest of the children. Culture- Some children need an invitation to play- Restrictions to play materials- Gender Poverty- Access to play space- Simpler play- More creative in their ways of play(Dietze, 2011) 8
SEVEN CHARACTERISTICS OF PLAY Play is…- Active- Child-initiated and focused- Process-Oriented- Intrinsic- Episodic- Rule-Governed- Symbolic(Dietze, 2011) 46
WHY IS PLAY IMPORTANT? Brain development – this is influenced by the environment surrounding the child and also the experiences of that child. Physical development – keeps the children active, develop motor skills. Develop language . Self-regulation – “The ability to adapt to one’s emotions, behaviours, and attention to the demands of the situation” (Pascal, 2009, pg 1). Social Skills – they can work with others but also have opportunity to work independently.(Dietze, 2011) 38
Continued… Play is an important thing in a child’s life because it is chosen by them. Through their chosen play they learn. The children role play different characters such as firefighters, police men or doctors. Children play out real life scenarios copying what they see adults do in their real life jobs or activities. When I was younger, my mom drove a standard car. I would pretend to drive like she did. I was learning how it worked even though I was not old enough to drive or have my licence yet. This means that if a child wants to bring a leaf indoors to play with, let them do that. Give them different questions about that leaf. What shape is it? What colour is it? Where do leaves grow? So they can gain an understanding of the object, and come up with more ideas. “provide the children with the freedom to be” (Dietze, 2011).
INFLUENCES ON PLAY AND LEARNING Materials provided for the children – open-ended toys they could use for multiple things (sorting by colour, shape, and size. Building different things). Parents, Teachers, and friends – observant learning by looking at what others do and imitating them. Sharing, combining ideas or information with each other to collaborate in play. Professions such as police, doctor, vet, mom, dad, or even the teachers influence play because the children in their play pretend to be like those people. Role playing.
THE PROCESS OF PLAY Phase 1 – Body play- The baby plays for the first time when they move their arms and legs, hands and feet. Also, when they make sounds. They gain information from their travels around their environment. They discover materials and faces.-“The infant repeats movements for the purpose of combining or reconfiguring information previously explored” (Dietze, 2006) Phase 2 – Motoring Movement Play- Children gain balance skills by learning how to crawl and walk, then later on expanding on their activity by moving into running and jumping. Phase 3 – Imaginative Play- Imaginative play is a combination of play and movement based on the experiences a child has learned, such as, playing dentist, doctor, or mom and baby.
Continued… Phase 4 – Intentional Imaginative Play - The children in this phase discuss their mental ideas and pictures of sophisticated roles that they are interested in. They use the objects from the environment around them for different props. Phase 5 – Peer Play With Rules - This is where the children have a set of rules they have to follow to the competitive game that they are playing. Phase 6 – Adult Play - This occurs in the adult years of life. - Play is an on going process that never stops. - They learn valuable life skills and maintain a life-work balance. - They gain these by sharing stories and experiences with others.
HOW DOES ENVIRONMENT CONTRIBUTE TO PLAY AND LEARNING? The environment plays a big part in the contribution to the play and learning of the children. By having a schedule of what the day is like for the children, they will know what is coming next. There wouldn’t be specific times because what the children are doing may take a little bit longer than it normally does. Or it is a nice day outside so you let them stay out longer. The materials you provide them with such as blocks or play dough, opens opportunity for them to be creative. If they have to leave that project we shouldn’t tell them to put it away, or if it is at the end of the day take a picture to display the work of that child so they can look back on their creations. In the morning when the teachers come in they could set up a block centre with the blocks as a castle or tower to provide an area to get children to build on it and role play in that castle.
Continued… Another thing is they way the room is set up. If there is a lot of natural lighting, the children will probably be in a better mood then when there isn’t as much natural lighting. Also the where the children’s play stations are has a big impact on their learning. If the stations are all close together or the room is crammed there is not a lot of room for the children to be able to have space and spread out. If there was a station all blocked off the children wouldn’t have the opportunity to be at that station. In my placement the art station was in a corner, none of the children would go over and colour or draw unless the teacher brought it to the middle of the room, since they have rearranged the room and brought it out into the open, I see children colouring and drawing more than they ever were when it was tucked away.
Continued… Another contribution is the way the teachers handle different situations, such as, hitting. If a child hits another child they should handle it in a way that the child learns from their mistakes. If the teacher’s teaching style is “go sit on this chair and read a book, you are not allowed to hit”, the child doesn’t learn anything from it. They should handle it in appropriate manner where the child talks to the other child under supervision of the teacher and the students talk it out telling them how they feel about the other did. Then they should be saying sorry for what they did and asking if they are okay. After all that, the child who was saying sorry should go play somewhere else until they are ready to be nice to the other students. Having different activities for children to do is another thing that is good in a classroom. Children like bugs and science stuff. They also like to move around, cut paper and draw. Having an arts and crafts table, and a science table is a fun things for kids to do. They are interested in that kind of stuff. Providing the materials for kids to do what they like will keep them engaged in their activity. Also, having games that include more than one child is an active learning experience with other children as well, therefore gaining social and problem solving skills.
IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF THE PLAY ENVIRONMENT Materials the children need- Crafts- Building blocks- Open-ended toys- Books The set up of the room needs natural lighting and lots of space. They need a comfy place to sit and relax when they need some alone time or are reading. Lots of pictures and labels showing the children where things are and where they go when they are done with them. Loving teachers who know where the child id developmentally and socially. Outdoor play for fresh air and to get them active and moving around.
WHAT IS CURRICULUM? Curriculum – “The sum total of experiences, activities and events designed to foster children’s development, learning, and well-being.” (cece, 2011) 29 Our plan for children’s learning. Schedule/Routine – nothing happens at a specific time but the children know what happens next (snack, outdoor play, lunch, nap, snack, outdoor time, free play, home time). Being aware of individuals needs (disabilities, abilities).
Continued… Keeping them interested and engaged. Child initiated learning instead of all teacher lead activities and learning. Play-based hands-on materials. Open-ended materials. Play touching on all aspects of development (physical, cognitive, creative, social, and emotional).
HOW CURRICULUM HAS CHANGED TO ME My understanding of curriculum has changed a lot over the course of the first couple weeks at Conestoga. I thought curriculum was a plan for children’s learning, but to a degree where it has to be learned and there was a plan everyday for what the children are supposed to learn and do. Since I have been at my placement I have learned more and more about curriculum. They plan out what they are going to do that week. During one story time that week they are going to read a book related to Halloween because it’s that time of the year.
Continued… They planned the craft they are going to do that week to be witches hats, because it is all related. That way the children are learning about the different holidays and season as they go. Also, I learned that curriculum is everything. Whether it be playing in a sandbox, pouring a glass of milk, or doing your math homework. Curriculum is everywhere. Children learn from everything they do. All the time.
REFERENCES Dietze, B. (2011). Playing and learning. (1 ed. ) . Pearson Education Canada. College of Early Childhood Educators. (2011). Code of ethics and standards of practice. (1 ed.).