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Creating play spaces


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Creating play spaces

  1. 1. Creating play spaces
  2. 2. Creating play spaces
  3. 3. Creating play spaces LANGUAGE AND LITERACY LEARNING BOOK CORNER AGE GROUP: Babies to 5 year olds DEVELOPMENT BENEFITS: SET UP: IN AND OUTDOOR Recent research has sparked interest among parents and educators with many seeing more informationabout knowing how children start the literacy journey. It appears that childhood experiences for babies and toddlers have an explicit link to child’s individual literacy development. Engaging children in the activity: Educators try to create your own style when reading and singing songs and rhymes. There is no right or wrong way to introduce them to the children. Sit looking at the group, so that the children can see your facial expressions and enthusiasm when reading a book. Let the children turn the pages A few minutes is ok- young children can only sit for a few minutes for a story, but as they grow they will be able to sit longer. Run your fingers along the words as you read to them, from left to right. Make the story come alive- create different voices for characters. Ask the children questions about the story and let the children ask questions to. With rhymes you can write down the rhyme on a piece of paper for easy reference during group time. Try not to rush through the rhyme when you are introducing it for the first time. Children love repeat familiar rhymes. Once learnt, the retelling is lots of fun! Let children tell the story – children as young as 3 years old can memorize a story, and many children love to be creative through storytelling. Timing the storytelling session: Children will enjoy coming together to listen to a story. This can be just two children or more made feel comfortable on cushions, mats, indoors or outdoors. Reading a story can be spontaneous and lots of fun.
  4. 4. Creating play spaces Where to place a book area  A carpeted area, with carpet squares a bedspread, travel rug or cushions to add to the scene.  Offer a small selection of books and magazines in decorated boxes and baskets or specifically arranged with soft toys, create an environment that develops interest.  Book area can be organised outdoors for children. – use of curtain on fences, to the enclose area, carpet or rugs to make the ground comfortable can help to define the area.  Children of all ages and stages can enjoy books. Board books made from heavier cardboard can help little hands to enjoy the experience of turning pages. Books that include bright coloured pictures which may catch young children’s attention are a great choice for younger children.  Children at an early age will enjoy looking at books and talking with adults/educators about the illustrations.  Picture books can stimulate children to focus on the illustrations, extend their language skills and develop understanding of how a book is read.  Books can be purchased from op shops, borrowed from the local library, brought from home for a special sharing time. References: A stimulating story time kit – city of casey Gowrie news letter spring 2011-Gowrie Victoria ‘Families support children’s literacy in different ways, and children develop different sorts of literacy understandings depending on their family experience’. It is important to support children and families in continuing to use their home language while introducing English as a second language, as this helps maintain cultural identity and family relationships. Supporting language and literacy in early childhood. Play provides a supportive environment where children can experiment and have a go at reading and writing. As they are playing, children may begin to experiment with writing their name, or making a shopping list or reading a book to a toy. Babies are social beings. They want to take part in the lives of their families and communities. They love to play games such as peek-a-boo, and they often join in conversations by smiling, gurgling and cooing. These interactive experiences help babies to learn that language is used to express ideas and feelings and that language is fun. They are also developing conversation skills such as turn taking. Talk about what you see, for example when you are going for a walk, children at this age2 to 5 is interested in learning names of objects in their world. Sing songs and recite rhymes as you play with children, change nappies or settle them to sleep. The rhythm and repetition of many songs and rhymes helps children learn the sounds and patterns of language and enables them to join in.
  5. 5. Creating play spaces Tell stories. Read books that relate to children’s lives. If children are used to going shopping, to the park, or beach they will enjoy books about everyday experiences. Provide drawing and writing materials such as paper and pencils, crayons and felt pens. These encourage children to draw and experiment with writing. Together, find words and symbols that give us information-shop signs, street addresses, for sale signs. Links to theorists and environment Educators such as Friedrich Froebel and Maria Montessori strongly believed in the importance of play. Froebel designed the first kindergarten and to him, play was an extremely important route to learning. Montessori developed curriculum that incorporated natural play activities, letting children decide how they wanted to play and learn. Both methods of instruction were based on observations of children at play which can give teachers insight into what children are interested in and develop the curriculum from those interest. John Dewey also had strong opinions regarding play; that the interests and needs of children should come first. His ideas have become the foundation for many current views of play. “Dewey advocated an education for young children that was embedded in their current experience in the world that surrounded them. He thought play could be used to help children reconstruct their experience and to gain meaning from it” (Saracho&Spodek, 1995, pg. 133). If children are able to explore and try to find meaning in the world around them through play, they are learning more than they would by simply sitting and listening to a teacher telling them what they need to know. Children need the freedom to discover and question what they see in order to grow in their development. The children are the teachers, and the teacher assists in obtaining the knowledge that they would like the children to learn, through each topic. For instance, if the children were interested in farm animals, then the teachers would come up with curriculum (math, science, language, etc.) that they would meet certain objectives of that topic. Reggio Emilia approach believes that children learn better in a child-led environment which allows for the curriculum to be developed off of their interests: Classrooms have dramatic play, dress-up areas.The teacher follows the children’s own interests. Graphic arts are heavily integrated into the program to demonstrate cognitive, social, and language development. Children learn through what Reggio Emilia describes the ‘hundred languages’…it’s a representation of the child’s thoughts and ideas, and verbal, motor, musical, mathematical, ethical, imaginary, cognitive, and moral expressions. Learning through the Reggio Emilia approach it connects with the children’s real lives. Play as Rehearsal
  6. 6. Creating play spaces In 1972, Bruner stated that one of the main functions of child's play was to rehearse actions to various real-life scenarios in a safe, risk-free environment so that when confronted with a difficult situation, it would not be so stressful. Play as Preparation John Dewey was a prominent theorist in the early 1900s. According to Dewey, play is a subconscious activity that helps an individual develop both mentally and socially. It should be separate from work as play helps a child to grow into a working world. As children become adults, they no longer "play" but seek amusement from their occupation. This childhood activity of play prepares them to become healthy working adults. Play as Sensory Learning Maria Montessori, an Italian educationist during the early 1900s, postulated that "play is the child's work." According to the Montessori method, which is still employed today in private schools, children would be best served spending their play time learning or imagining. Montessori play is sensory, using a hands-on approach to everyday tools like sand tables. The child sets her own pace, and the teacher is collaborative in helping the child play to learn. Play as Intellectual Development Jean Piaget is most noted for introducing the stages of child development. These stages directly relate to play, as he stated that intellectual growth occurs as children go through the stages of assimilation, or manipulating the outside world to meet one's own needs-- playacting--and accommodation, or readjusting one's own views to meet the needs of the outside environment, or work. Play as Social Development Lev Vygotsky suggested that children will use play as a means to grow socially. In play, they encounter others and learn to interact using language and role-play. Vygotsy is most noted for introducing the ZPD, or zone of proximal development. This suggests that while children need their peers or playmates to grow, they need adult interaction as they master each social skill and are ready to be introduced to new learning for growth. Read more: Theories About Play in Early Childhood Education | education.html#ixzz1cgWPT35A
  7. 7. Creating play spaces The environment in which we live has an enormous influence upon us. It is often seen as the third teacher. Children need a clutter free environment so that their eyes are not over stimulated or confused. –(class notes) 2) ‘What are the Benefits to Children of Dramatic Play? Watching children’s dramatic play as it develops through the early childhood years lets us see that it becomes more complicated, extensive and prolonged over time. Dramatic play provides opportunities to combine spoken language with imagination, to imitate, and to pretend to be someone or something else. It stimulates all areas of a child's growth and can in turn affect the child's success in school. Dramatic play has also been shown to enable children to be more flexible in new situations. Pretending allows children to transform real life, changing things from how they really are to how the child perceives them to be. By engaging the child creatively and meeting them where they are, we can bring out their own interests and help them develop skills in fun ways.’ Age group 3 to 5 Some ideas for dramatic play: Movie Theatre: Set up chairs in front of the TV, showed a Disney movie, had tickets, popcorn buckets (empty - we worked on pretending), etc Post Office: envelopes, paper, pen, papers, stamps (stickers), mail man outfit if possible (bag and hat, etc), a Mail box (out of a cardboard box), etc. Pet Shop: stuffed animals, cardboard boxes put together to represent cages, containers of pet food (empty of course), pet grooming items, pet toys, cash register, play money, books about pets, Shoe Store: variety of used shoes - all sizes, cash register, play
  8. 8. Creating play spaces money, cardboard boxes to "display" the shoes, a chair to sit to try the shoes on. Hospital: bandages, bandaids, masks, scrubs, cots, first aid kit, stethascope, dolls. Beauty Shop We use the wash-off nail polish, face paint, and spray color for hair and sponge curlers...the kids adore this one. Language and creative development What's Learned Playing make-believe lets a child bring the complicated grown-up world down to size. Research demonstrates that children who are active in pretend play are usually more joyful and cooperative, more willing to share and take turns, and have larger vocabularies than children who are less imaginative. Imaginative play helps children to concentrate, to be attentive, and to use self-control. Think about how a child develops a game of supermarket. They must take the t first set up the counter, put out the pretend cans of food, invite friends to shop, use the "cash register," and bag the groceries. All of these actions help a child to learn about sequence. The children also have a story or script in mind that helps them to perform each of these steps in an orderly way. Dramatic play encourages children to think abstractly, which is an important prereading skill. Children come to understand that words represent ideas. Link to theorist: • Children learn through what Reggio Emilia describes the ‘hundred languages’…it’s a representation of the child’s thoughts and ideas, and verbal, motor, musical, mathematical, ethical, imaginary, cognitive, and moral expressions. Learning through the Reggio Emilia approach it connects with the children’s real lives. Safety in all areas of play When setting up activities for children safety is paramount. Educators are responsible to do a daily safety checklist All play materials and equipment in and outdoor is in good quality and is safe for children to use. Have age appropriate play material. Their no small toys or objects where children can put in their mouth Organise materials in containers and label them, and organise the material so children can access them easily
  9. 9. Creating play spaces Adequate space for all areas of play All areas where children can play are supervised by educators at all times. Making sure that there is sufficient material for the number of children that attend the service. Use picture labels to help the children be involved in keeping the area neat and organised. Wonderful Water Play What Do Children Learn From Water Play? Imagine putting your hands into cool water on a hot day, feeling it drip from your fingers, the heavy feel of a container with water sloshing around. Water play delights the senses and is far more than simply pleasurable for young children. This type of sensory play is important for the development of the young child. High quality early childhood programs offer many sensory play experiences, such as water, sand, and play dough. Water play is good for children’s physical, mental (cognitive), and social-emotional growth. In sensory play there is no right or wrong way to play. When children pour water, they are improving their and eye-hand coordination. By playing with others in blowing bubbles or washing baby dolls, they develop social skills. At the same time, they use their minds as they explore why certain objects sink in water and others float. Children learn concepts such as empty/full, before/after, shallow/deep, and heavy/light in a hands-on way. Children learn new words that go along with water play, such as funnel, surface, float, and strain. This list describes some of the many ways that water play helps development: Physical Development Improves fine motor skills - lifting containers with water Improves eye-hand coordination - pouring water Cognitive Development
  10. 10. Creating play spaces Shows math and science concepts: sinking and floating, volume Shows that the same amount of water may appear to be different when poured into different sized and shaped containers Increases vocabulary - wet, dry, sopping, sink, float Social-emotional Development Provides opportunities to imitate the play of others - children wash baby dolls Provides opportunities for imaginative play Helps dramatic play - together children develop social skills Stages of Water Play When children spend a lot of time playing at the sink while washing their hands, they are likely ready for some wonderful water play. The first stage of water play is functional play. Children explore water with their senses; the way it splashes, pours, spills, and changes when soap is added. Through this they learn what water is like and what can be done with it. After functional play comes constructive play. In this stage, children move from exploring water to using it for play--for example, pouring water over a toy person and pretending he is taking a shower. In the next stage, simple play develops into dramatic play, such as a fire-fighting story. Some of the best props for dramatic play can be created by the children themselves. For instance, if a group of children is interested in fishing play, you can suggest that the children make fish. Ask the children what they might need and how they could make them. This gives the children a chance to be creative and to test their ideas about what materials would hold up in water. Making boats is also a great way for children to explore their ideas about sinking and floating. Making a Place for Water Play Indoors Water play is so important for young children that it shouldn't be available only outdoors in warm weather. Indoor water play can go on all year long!
  11. 11. Creating play spaces Many childcare providers are concerned about the mess of bringing water play indoors. Water play, like all sensory play, can be messy. Specially made water tables are available through educational supply catalogues. These tables can be placed on a large plastic mat or sheet or an old bath mat to help control the mess when water spills. Water tables are not the only way to make water play available indoors. You can also use small tubs or dishpans for individual children. Pick a tub size that is large enough that children cannot tip it over when it is filled. Place the tub on a table with a mat underneath or inside a slightly larger tub that can catch the overflow. Keep mops and towels nearby so children can help clean up spills. Water Safety Warm weather brings many opportunities for fun and learning through outdoor water play. Puddles, spray bottles, garden sprinklers, and water tables naturally attract young children. This natural attraction to water means that children must be supervised carefully. . There must be constant supervision, when children play near water. When children are playing around water, safety is most important. Indoors or outdoors, any container of water is a possible hazard and must be supervised closely at all times. Children have been known to drown in less than an inch of water. Small containers like buckets are just as hazardous as wading pools and swimming pools. Stay close to children when they are playing around water. Use "touch supervision" - this means to have an adult be within an arm's length of each of the children. Watch carefully for safe and successful play. Outdoor Water Play There are many wonderful outdoor water play activities in addition to the standard sprinklers, squirt guns, hoses, and pools. Children can "paint" outdoors with water. Give them large paintbrushes and partly fill a large can or small pail with water. They can "paint" the walls, tables, sidewalks, and swing sets. Children also enjoy playing with water from a trickling hose. They can water plants and fill containers, and enjoy the feeling of running water on their bodies. Bubbles are another winning outdoor water play idea.
  12. 12. Creating play spaces Water Toys The supplies you make available with water can help foster a wide variety of exploration and play. Corks and rocks let children experiment with sinking and floating. Recycled plastic containers are an ideal material, and you can add to the learning by poking holes into these containers. Children learn a great deal from watching the water squirt out of the holes and seeing the water level in the container drop. Avoid anything with sharp edges. Also avoid wooden or metal things (other than aluminum or stainless steel), as they tend to crack or rust. Any damaged object should be removed and replaced. Here are some useful water play supplies: Containers Bowls Buckets Recycled containers of different sizes and shapes Small plastic cups Experimenting with Water Measuring cups Measuring spoons Corks Food coloring/vegetable dye Tongs Aquarium nets Scoops Plastic tubes Eyedroppers Funnels Plastic squeeze bottles
  13. 13. Creating play spaces Plastic tubing Sponges Strainers Troughs Water wheels Wire whisks Plant misters filled with water Pretend Play Plastic dishes Toy boats Small plastic play people Plastic toy animals Paintbrushes Take time to organize these materials on shelves or in bins, boxes, or drawers. Store the toys low, where children can reach them easily. Picture labels let the children help keep the area neat and organized. Then, when they have an idea, they can find toys that they want and can explore their ideas until they feel satisfied. Make cleaning up part of the learning experience by using rags and short-handled mops to do "grown-up" work. Discipline and Water Play Splashing and Spilling Water play is valuable for children starting in infancy. Babies love to splash and sometimes make a mess, so it is best to create a large splash zone. Sometimes toddlers and pre-schoolers will splash or spill water. Splashing and spilling is part of experimenting with water. The best way to handle this problem is to involve them in cleaning up the water that was spilled. Have some small mops or towels on hand that children can use. Explain that someone can slip and fall on the water that spills on the floor. Children often enjoy the cleanup as much as the water play itself!
  14. 14. Creating play spaces Relaxing Play For many children, water play is calming and soothing. When a child seems stressed or is having trouble with other kinds of play, you might suggest water play. with the environment When water play is organised make sure children have enough space to move, uncluttered, the area is for small groups at a time. It’s a great activity for quiet time. Helping Children Learn from Water Play Melting Children also learn about water from playing with ice. One way to provide ice for children to examine is to use clean, empty plastic milk cartons as molds and make large blocks of ice. After freezing, cut away the cartons and place the blocks of ice into a water table or pan for children to touch and watch melt. Dissolving Another change, like melting, is dissolving. Children can learn about how things dissolve by watching sugar cubes dissolve in water. Temperature You can change the temperature of the water. Children will play differently with warm water than with cool or body-temperature water. Color and Scent You can change the color of water by adding food coloring, or add peppermint or other scents to the water. Adding Props
  15. 15. Creating play spaces Look at children's water play to see where pretend play can be added in. Create a dramatic play area for children to wash doll clothes in a tub of sudsy water and hang them up with clothespins to dry in the sun. Or, after a trip to the zoo or reading a book about animals, offer plastic animals for the children to use in their play. Ask Children Questions as They Play Ask children open-ended questions about their play. These are questions that don't have a right or wrong answer. The best thing to say is, "Tell me about it." Make sure children have a variety of materials, and make enough available. If one child wants a bucket that another one is using, it helps if you have another bucket to offer. Give children the chance to tell others about what they did and what they learned through their play. Summary Water play is an important activity for children in childcare. It can foster physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development. The caregiver's role is to provide a safe environment, supply a wide variety of water play materials, set up an indoor water play area, build and extend children's language through describing their play with water, and ask them open-ended questions. The caregiver can also look for ways to extend the children's dramatic play and offer toys to expand the play. • Maria Montessori, an Italian educationist mentioned that "play is the child's work." According to the Montessorimethod, which is currently being practised today in services, children would be best served spending their play time learning or imagining. Montessori play is sensory, using a hands-on approach to everyday tools like sand tables and water play. The child sets her own pace, and the teacher is collaborative in helping the child play to learn. Together in the Garden (Garden play) The best place to find challenge, wonder,beauty,wisdom and pure joy is in the garden. To garden with children is an opportunity to learn, share knowledge and engage in creative experience. It is an opportunity not to be missed and will provide experiences and memories that will last for a long time.
  16. 16. Creating play spaces A garden is a place of interest, mystery, excitement and beauty that offers many opportunities. Through gardening children learn: An appreciation of the natural world A sense of wonder and exploration An understanding of patterns and life cycles Creativity Relaxation How to solve problems Other valuable skills such as literacy, and understanding maths through patterns or counting BABIES Babies need strong relationships with educators to feel comfortable and safe. This also extends to their environment. Babies need to feel safe to explore and discover their surroundings. The outside environment can be a safe place for babies. This allows babies to explore their natural world using all their senses – sight, sound, smell, taste and touch and for that reason it is essential to make sure the garden is safe. It is important that babies are exposed to as many experiences as possible, with educators who are enthusiastic and will support the growth of a sense of wonder and exploration. Garden should be colourful as possible. Try to have a variety of textures in the garden so babies can feel the differences. Rough textures should be avoided. The sound of running water can be soothing, and water features can add to the aesthetics of a garden. They can be made safe for children by simple modifications. Walk around the garden with the baby and talk about what you see, hear and feel. TODDLERS Toddlers are starting to become more independent, curious and inquisitive. When toddlers are exploring the garden it requires careful planning to provide freedom and independence they need, while at the same time keeping them safe. Toddlers enjoy digging, weeding, moving things in carts or wheelbarrows and watering plants. Spray bottles or small watering cans they can carry easily are good for this age group. Learning environment: Toddlers love to dig in gardens. Supply them with a spade of a suitable shape, and make sure the soil is broken up or soft enough for them to dig reasonably. Mud patches/pies can keep toddlers involved for a long time. They will need an area where doesn’t matter. Have old clothes and gum boots for children to wear. Toddlers love to help weed the garden but need help in learning which plants are weeds. They also love picking flowers. Toddlers enjoy collecting interest bits and pieces. Give toddlers a basket to help collect veggies, fruit and flower from the garden.
  17. 17. Creating play spaces PRE-SCHOOLERS AND PREPS These children are interested in all aspects of gardening. They enjoy the physical tasks and the many opportunities for discovery. They especially love watering plants and flowers and a watering can gives them an opportunity to develop physical strength, control and awareness of concepts such as full and empty, dry and wet. Children at this age group love to be involved in planning the garden. Gardening books and plant catalogues provide a lot of ideas. This is an opportunity for adults to encourage reading. Writing, drawing and the sharing of ideas. Ask the children what they would like in garden, and listen to what they have to say. They will have more interest in the garden and will accept more responsibility if they feel their ideas have been used. Learning environment. Take the children on a discovery walk. Encourage them to look closely at what is out there. They can use a magnifying glass. Ask the children open ended questions Allow time for children to explore, and let them ask the educators questions Observe ants, beetles, and other bugs to see how they move, what they look like, what they eat and how much they help in the garden. Spiders are very interesting to watch, especially when making a web. Snails are also fascinating for young children. Pre-schoolers and preps are developing a vivid imagination. They love to imagine and act out their ideas. Garden statues and gnomes are of great interest and can be easily used in their games and play. Natural Appeal When children really enjoy a well-designed play space, they want to return there again and again. The playspace has a special meaning for them and offers special memories to share. Natural Playspaces: Allow children to be spontaneous, active and creative. Provide for children of all ages and abilities, and for boys and girls alike. Promote light, moderate or vigorous physical activity that supports children’s growth and development. Quotes from class notes and readings Learning from the environment ‘we value space because of its power to organise, promote pleasant relationships between people of different ages, create a handsome environment, provide changes, promote choices and activity, and its potential for sparkling all kinds of social, affective and cognitive learning. All of this contributes to a sense of well-being and security in children’. (Malaguzzi 1994)
  18. 18. Creating play spaces Get the children involve in planning everyday….. Ask them ‘what would you like to do today’? Building with Blocks There's so much going on in the block corner that it's easy to understand why it is often the most popular area in the preschool classroom. It can also become the focus of incredible territorial struggles. Sometimes groups of children begin to act as if they own the space. Often boys dominate the area, making it difficult for girls (or boys who aren't members of the block clique) to enter. One study suggests that if a teacher positions herselfin the block corner for part of the day, girls are more likely to enter and use the area. Building with blocks is lots of fun--and it teaches many skills that children will use later. One study indicates that many of the concepts learned from block building are the foundation for more advanced science comprehension. For example, a child learns about gravity, stability, weight, balance, and systems from building with blocks. Through trial and error, she learns inductive thinking, discovery, the properties of matter, and the interaction of forces. One researcher suggested that one reason you see fewer girls inadvanced placement physics classes in high school is because they are excluded (intentionally or unintentionally) from many of the "play" activities that build scientific framework. LEARNING FROM BLOCKS Blocks help children learn scientific, mathematical, art, social studies, and language concepts; use small-motor skills; and foster competence and self-esteem. They are using their imagination and creative skills to build blocks. Building with blocks also teaches life skills. Just putting away your groceries in the cupboard is using the same concepts of spatial relations, stability, and balance that you learned in the block corner. Besides the scientific concepts discussed in the previous paragraph, blocks also are important in developing math skills. A child learns about depth, width, height, length, measurement, volume, area, classification, shape, symmetry, mapping, equality (same as), and inequality (more than, less than)--all from building with blocks. Building with blocks also teaches art concepts such as patterns, symmetry, and balance. A child learns about symbolic representation, interdependence of people, mapping, grids, patterns, people and their work. A child gains prereading skills such as shape recognition, differentiation of shapes, size relations. Language is enhanced as children talk about how to build, what they built, what is its function or ask questions about concepts or directions. And dramatic play is also a part of block building as children create stories to go along with their constructions.
  19. 19. Creating play spaces Finally, building with blocks fosters a feeling of competence, teaches cooperation and respect for the work of others, encourages autonomy and initiative. It's not just building with blocks that is educational--so is cleanup. Sorting and storing blocks teaches classification and one-to-one correspondence, which are important math skills. Jean Piaget Piaget was a French speaking Swiss theorist who posited that children learn through actively constructing knowledge through hands-on experience. He suggested that the adult's role in helping the child learn was to provide appropriate materials for the child to interact and construct. He would use Socratic questioning to get the children to reflect on what they were doing. He would try to get them to see contradictions in their explanations. He also developed stages of development BABIES – LEARNING THROUGH PLAY (Face games, sensory play, mirrors, soft toys) Play is communicating. Every educator that plays from "Peek-a-boo" to "Pat-a-Cake," from knee bouncing to lullabies, comes from a love of communication games, face to face, enjoying one another. " Early speech-reading (lip reading), mouth movements, rhythm and facial expression are learned during communication play. If your infant or toddler is learning spoken language, these games let you call their attention to meaningful sounds. This is a first step in learning to listen. For example, you pull the blanket over your face, and play Peek a Boo!" As this game becomes familiar the baby is alert when he/she hears her name. A little later she will pull the blanket when she hears the familiar pattern of "peek-a-boo." reward for listening is your smiling face and chances to keep playing the game. A finger-play song like pat-a-cake has a special pattern or rhythm babies will start to recognize after you play the game many times. After you have played the game many times, try asking your baby, "want to play pat-a-cake?" Wait a moment and see if the baby responds by showing excitement or moving her arms. Babies begin to show they understand around 10 to 12 months of age. Babies are learning through every sense during play, even before you begin to participate with conversation. Early play is about feeling the textures of woolly blankets, smooth sheets, fuzzy bears and bumpy carpets. It is about looking at edges, bright colors, stripes and movement. It is about becoming aware of as much sound as your baby can hear and relating sounds to their sources. It is about smelling stinky things and making faces, or smelling wonderful things and trying to get them.
  20. 20. Creating play spaces Your baby gets to communicate during play, because you ( the educator) are the babies favourite toy. Your facial expressions and actions as well as your speech and/or sign say, "This is fun! This is exciting! What do you think?" And, your baby's expressions and actions tell you the same thing. Play is the beginning of creativity. Although right now babies seems to have only one use for a toy, putting it in her mouth, soon there will be doll houses, play dough, construction toys, dress up and block and truck centers. When the stuffed pig snuffles at your baby's tummy and the stuffed dog "barks", your baby is discovering the exciting possibilities of pretend. Most of all, play is experience. Experiences in early life, especially exciting, interesting, or calming play experiences, give your baby things to talk or sign about. The language that accompanies play will become the language of their surroundings, family, early learning centre, and community. Benefits of Hand Puppet Play In and outdoors Age group: 2 to 5 year olds Hand Puppets are a natural and fun extension of the pretend play that young children engage in so readily. With a little encouragement from you, hand puppets will help your children develop some important learning skills. Hand Puppet play is imaginative and open-ended and equally freeing for adults. Let your child take the lead and you’ll be amazed at where you will go together. Here are some of the ways that children learn from hand puppet play. Hand puppets Communication and Social Skills Many children communicate easily with their own and other people’s puppets, giving them confidence to express their ideas and feelings If they are shy about interacting, they can become acquainted with others through the roles they take on Hand Puppets are an ideal springboard for developing speaking and listening skills. With a puppet on their hand children are free to try on new personalities and take them off again, broadening their own in the process.
  21. 21. Creating play spaces Scary animal hand puppets like lions and sharks or shy ones such as a tortoise can help children master uncomfortable feelings - giving them an opportunity to gain some control over their world by working out fears and frustrations. Creative Skills Hand Puppet play helps young children develop creative skills by forcing them to use their imaginations. They make up the roles, the rules, the situations and the solutions. It is through imaginative play that children come to understand the differences between fantasy and reality. The real world becomes more real to children who have opportunities to pretend. Language skills Whether children write their own stories or adapt one of their favourite books into a play, storytelling with hand puppets is one of the best ways for kids to build their reading, comprehension, and vocabulary skills, building on their ideas by introducing new words, their meanings and other information. Pick books that are appropriate for the children's' age and reading level. Younger children will likely enjoy folk or fairy tales featuring animal characters, magic, or fantasy, while older children may be drawn to stories involving mystery, science, drama or even non-fictional accounts of important people or events. Half the fun of putting on a hand puppet play comes in planning the performance. Creating a hand puppet show is a wonderful way to help kids learn to work as part of a group. Links to the theorists ‘If children are able to explore and try to find meaning in the world around them through play, they are learning more than they would by simply sitting and listening to a teacher telling them what they need to know. Children need the freedom to discover and question what they see in order to grow in their development’. – John Dewey. Lev Vygotsky suggested that children will use play as a means to grow socially. In play, they encounter others and learn to interact using language and role-play. The environment: A stage, a big card board box with material draped over, all different sorts of hand puppets, dress ups, behind a table, anything the child’s imagination desires……. Make the environment very cosy, inviting and secure (very homely)…..children can use this type of play to connect with their lives…. Children are effective communicators. (Outcome 5 Early Learning Framework)
  22. 22. Creating play spaces Children communicate with others from birth. They begin by using gestures, visual and non-verbal cues, sounds, language and assisted communication in forming relationships. Over time, communication becomes more intentional. Children’s wellbeing, identity and sense of agency are dependent on their communication skills and are strongly linked to their capacity to express their feelings and thoughts, and to be understood. Children respond non-verbally and verbally to what they see, hear,touch,feel and taste. Through relationships with responsive adults, they take turns to explore sound and movement patterns, sing songs and are exposed to chants and are exposed to chants and rhymes. Children are effective communicators. (Outcome 5 Early Learning Framework) Children communicate with others from birth. They begin by using gestures, visual and non-verbal cues, sounds, language and assisted communication in forming relationships. Over time, communication becomes more intentional. Children’s wellbeing, identity and sense of agency are dependent on their communication skills and are strongly linked to their capacity to express their feelings and thoughts, and to be understood. Children respond non-verbally and verbally to what they see, hear, touch, feel and taste. Through relationships with responsive adults, they take turns to explore sound and movement patterns, sing songs and are exposed to chants and are exposed to chants and rhymes. As an educator we help children explore and understand, their play which reflect their learning, well- being, communication, language and creativity. We are also providing physical environments that: • supports emotional security and creativity • are warm, home like, safe and secure • are aesthetically pleasing • provide appropriate space/storage/furniture • allows access to a wide range of materials
  23. 23. Creating play spaces Art skills they can develop: Understanding perspectives Developing skills in design, representation, balance and stability Creativity Life skills they can work on: Building longer attention spans Problem solving Planning Developing dispositions toward curiosity and learning Discovering wonder and exploration CREATIVE Associations
  24. 24. Creating play spaces Relationships Problem-solving Finding New Solutions Sensory Exploration .. Link to theorist Jean Piaget Piaget was a French speaking Swiss theorist who posited that children learn through actively constructing knowledge through hands-on experience. He suggested that the adult's role in helping the child learn was to provide appropriate materials for the child to interact and construct. Link to theorist B.F.Skinner’s(1957) behaviourist theory of language development explains language acquisition as a “stimulus-response” process. Behaviourists believe language is learned through imitation and practice. Associating sounds with objects, actions and events, infants learn to speak and listen by turn –taking with the adult practitioner. A process of modelling and reinforcement is used as the child imitates and practises language.