Use the lolly sticks to select partners. Partners to discuss their responses to the two questions and note down discussions. Then number each pair 1,2,3,4,5,6, and 7 (I have 28 in my group so this would then create opportunities for 2 pairs to come together to form a 4 – you may need to adjust if your group is smaller). Each pair to find another pair with the same number. Revisit the two questions in the larger group and note down discussions.Share ideas in larger group.
Return to your own seat. Working on your own. Think about a time in your own childhood when you can remember playing:what you were playing with whom or were you alonewhat skills you needed in order to playwhat benefit this might have been to you in your learning and developmentwhy you remember this? Now share your memory with the people at your table. Are there any similarities in the memories that you have shared? Any differences? What was the range of types of play you had all remembered? What skills were you learning through that play? Now share with wider class group. We will then look at some different types of play.
This just tells us that play is developmental and like any other skill progresses with age and develops. At the sensori motor stage of development, babies are ‘playing’ through exploration – finding out about things and the world through the use of their senses.
This slide illustrates the different types of symbolic play and the importance and sophistication that accompanies children need many hours in this type of playYou may get a discussion about whether superhero play should be allowed so refer them to Penny Holland book here.But I ask them to put themselves in the 4 year old child’s shoes who comes to school passionate about a superhero (ok let go for the stereo type and let him be a boy). This superhero is in his thoughts day and night and is really important and inspirational to him. How might he feel if told No we don’t do that here. How might that affect his self esteem? How might he feel about things that are really important to him not being valued at school? What might that make him do (Go into a corner and secretly play it? Feel depressed and that the learning here is not for him? Etc)
There are many different views of play and definitions of play. Theorists have been trying to define play for centuries – link to the reading (“Perspectives on Play” – page 203 in reader provides an overview of the different perspectives on play that have been put forward. Tina Bruce provides one view of play, which is linked to the ideas in the EYFS. Practitioners/teachers can use the 12 features of play as way of assessing the quality of play provision. Think back to your memories of play in your own childhood. Can you recognise any of the 12 features of play in your own experiences?
The revised EYFS supports the aims of the first EYFS, which promoted play based learning. The EYFS sets out the key characteristics of effective learning and identifies play as a central theme. Hand out of the characteristics of effective learning.
This quote is from the statutory guidance for the EYFS (2012). It suggests that child-initiated play will become less prevalent as ‘formal learning’ becomes a focus. What are our thoughts about this? Is play relevant for older children? Why?
Discuss what is meant by child-led and adult-led. Research tells us that in early years there should be an equal balance of child and adult initiated activities. What might child-led mean? What would the role be of adults? In groups, share experiences they have had on placement in schools and/or nursery. How was play used to support learning?
Watch the EYFS film about play (this is hyperlinked on the slide – just click on the title of the film, or find it here: http://archive.teachfind.com/ttv/www.teachers.tv/videos/play-to-learn-discussion.html). Students to make notes in response to the questions;What strikes you as important in the video?What do you agree with?Was there anything you do not agree with?. Share responses to the video in your group.
Session 4 - Play
Semester One 2013
Today we are thinking about…..
Play – types of play and characteristics of
Learning through play
The role of the adult in supporting playbased learning
How does play link to key learning
Responding to the Reading
Parker-Rees, R. (2010) ‘Active playing and learning’ in Parker-Rees, R. and
Leeson, C. (eds) Early Childhood Studies: An introduction to the study of
children’s worlds and children’s lives (3rdEd), Exeter: Learning Matters Ltd
Consider the questions:
• What does play look like?
• Why is play considered to be important for
Types of Early Play
• Babies are born ready to learn.
• Young babies and children learn through
• Through exploration, young babies and
children use all of their senses; Sight (vision),
Hearing, Taste (gustatory), Smell (olfactory),
• Exploratory plays helps the development of
Types of Symbolic play
• Symbolic play. Pretend play. Objects take on personalities and
symbolic meaning (i.e. A clothes peg becomes a key for a door)
• Role play. Occurs when pretend symbols are used together.
Children take on roles and act out their understanding of those
• Socio-dramatic play. Interaction and communication with other
children in role play/pretend play situations.
• Fantasy play. A form of role play where children experiment with
roles they may not know about. For example, pretending to get
married or fly to the moon.
• Superhero play. Children role play unreal events using
characters from tv/film. Usually a war theme. (We Don't Play with
Guns Here By Penny Holland)
Other Types of Play....
• Rough-and-tumble play. Chasing, catching, pretend
fights. Free-flowing and physical.
• Play with props (constructive play). A form of symbolic
play where children construct props to use in pretend
• Games with rules. Children make up their own rules.
Develops cooperation, logical thinking, teamwork.
Tina Bruce’s 12 features of play can be used as a method
of evaluating the quality of free-flow play experiences.
Bruce described play as a process which flows – not an
event with an end product or outcome.
“Play is a process...It keeps flowing along. It
keeps the learning open and
flexible...Children at play are able to stay
flexible, respond to events and changing
situations, be sensitive to people, to adapt,
think on their feet...” (Bruce,T. (2001) Learning Through Play, London:
Early Years Foundation Stage
“Play is essential for children’s
development, building their
confidence as they learn to
explore, to think about
problems, and relate to
others. Children learn by
leading their own play, and by
taking part in play which is
guided by adults” (Early
Education, 2012, p.6)
Early Education (2012) Development Matters in the Early
Years Foundation Stage, London: Early Education
But what happens to play…
“As children grow older…it is expected that the
balance will gradually shift towards more
activities led by adults, to help children prepare
for more formal learning, ready for Year 1” (DfE
Is child-initiated play worthwhile in key stage
one and beyond?
Department For Education (2012) Statutory Framework for the Early Years Foundation Stage [online], DfE, Available:
tail/Page1/DFE-00023-2012, [accessed: 23/10/13)
Why is play important?
• Play is a vital tool for children to use to support their emotional,
cognitive and physical development.
• Through play, children can use the skills they have already mastered
to extend their knowledge and understanding of the world.
• Children feel comfortable and confident when they are playing and
consequently feel able to experiment, take risks, question and
• Through their exploration, children are making connections and
building up ideas, concepts and skills.
• Through play children can gain a sense of achievement, thereby
Piaget and play
• He saw the child as a lone
scientist embarking on
• Play is not the same as
learning but facilitates
• The role of the educator is
to enable and facilitate,
responding to children’s
• The educator does not seek
to impart knowledge - the
child constructs this for
Vygotsky and play
• Vygotsky believed play has a
central role in the transmission of
culture through social interaction
• He saw learning in early childhood
as a complex process
• Unlike Piaget he believed learning
• Learning takes place through
internalisation moving from
experience to understanding
• Interaction with more
knowledgeable others enables
children to understand themselves
and the world they live in
“In play a child always behaves
beyond his average age, above his
daily behaviour; in play it is as
though he were a head taller than
himself. As in the focus of a
magnifying glass, play contains all
developmental tendencies in a
condensed form and is itself a major
source of development.”
Play as leading factor in child
Vygotsky, L.S. (1978) Mind in Society: Development of Higher
Psychological Processes, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
What Might Quality Play
Provision Look Like?
Indoors and outdoors
Based on children’s interests
Supporting children’s emerging
• Opportunities to practice skills
and test theories
• Thoughtful resources
The Role of Adults in Play
• Supportive, not domineering.
• Observing. Noticing
children’s emerging abilities.
• Creating relaxed
• Providing quality resources.
• Placing a value on play.
Play….what do the experts say?
Play to Learn: Discussion
As you watch, think about:
What strikes you as
important in the video?
What do you agree with?
Was there anything you do
not agree with?
Work in 3’s.
Pick a card
Read the statement/questions
What does it mean?
What is your response? Do you agree? Why? Why
For Next Time….
Creativity in the Classroom
Reading: Craft, A. (2000) Creativity across the
primary curriculum: framing and developing practice,
London: Routledge. (Please read Part 1, chapter 1,
‘What is creativity?’)
• What do you understand by ‘possibility thinking’
• What are Roger’s conditions for fostering Creativity and how do you