Monday, 23 July 2012

Thoughts on: Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood

Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood - Bending the Rules, by Sue Dockett & Marilyn Fleer (1999)

Section 1. Theories of Play.
Section 2. A New Look at Play?
Section 3. Analysing Play.
Section 4. Play in Action.

My take-away: Play is very important to a child. Play is creative, and the child has some investment or ownership in the Play. When the child's control over Play is removed or disenfranchised, it ceases to be Play and becomes Work; the child will rapidly lose interest in Work.

In Play, the child explores the range of their knowledge and understanding of their world. So often, in babies and toddlers, new toys or knowledge will be applied using the learned methods of interaction - dropping items, mouthing items, using the new item to knock against known objects (e.g. using a new wooden spoon to knock against known pots and pans).

In Play, the child extends their range of knowledge and understanding of their world.

In Play, the child extends their mastery of their environment. Play will become complex, either externally (interaction with others) or internally (solo play).

It is important to have a coherent plan when designing a Play environment for young children, as they are also learning about their social environment and context, e.g. role modelling, peer interaction (e.g. joining an existing game).

Steiner, Montessori, Piaget developed their theories in the late 1800's or early 1900's. I have a lot of respect for them. However I would send my kid to New Zealand's more modern curriculum, now that I've found out a bit more of the research into childhood since 1960's. I particularly like Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological model of Play. But that's in the next section.

What I'll do: I'll play more with Atilla. I did that tonight (23 July 2012), and it was a lot of fun. We both were able to withstand each other to bedtime and beyond.

I'm not very good at pretend play. I didn't do very much of that in my childhood. My way of interacting with Atilla is to have him learn life skills through play and praise - laundry, cooking, tidying up. He had great fun tonight climbing on the couch and sitting on the soft toys, and giggling at me sitting under the table. In the bath he was throwing himself backwards onto Dada (the helpless soul laying peaceably in the bath). At the winding down stage of bedtime, Atilla was chasing me with his finger puppet dragon.

One of his games (which is constantly developing in complexity a la Play theories) is Make Momma Wince. 'Gravity' is one variant - swiping things off the table or bench to make a loud clatter on the wooden floor. 'Spill' - playing with liquids, experimenting with what actions will make the liquid spill from its containment onto the table or floor. 'Bump' - bumping his head against things, wincing in reaction, and look for sympathy.

His other complex play is Make Dada Wail - discovering the many delay tactics which frustrate Dada's task of looking after Atilla.

Bringing up baby: nipple

Atilla discovers his nipple. (c) ^_^ 2012

Monday, 16 July 2012

16 July 2012: spin

Atilla held his glittery ball uncertainly, wavering between throwing it himself, giving it to Dada to fix, or to Mummy to look after.

He whirled in one place, twisting his body around 360 degrees. He kept upright throughout.

"Hey Atilla, great spinning!" Mummy calls out proudly.

Oh? I got praised! What's spinning? Is it the thing I just did? Big grin. I'll do it again!


"Wow, that's amazing!"

Giggle giggle! Woah, I'm getting dizzy.

*spin* *spin* *spin*


giggle giggle giggle

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bringing up baby: artwork

Drawing app 1 (c) Atilla 2012
Medium: Drawing Kids HD from
Date: 7th July 2012

Bringing up baby: Belly buttons

Atilla sees his belly button. (c) ^_^ 2012
Inspired by: Raised by my daughter

16 July 2012: no way!

In the weekend, Dada convinced me to buy a brush for our occassional visitor. So I did. The brush is in its packaging - plain, words only, wired firmly to the cardboard.

Atilla picks up the brush and says happily, "Caa-ht."

No way. Surely I'm mis-interpreting his jumble word.

He says it again. "Caaht."

No way. How can he know it's a cat brush?

"Tilly? Do you know how to read?"

He applies the brush to the picture of the cat on the dining table.

I'm still not convinced. Dada is though. I'll wait until we get a book without pictures, then see if he recognises the word 'cat'. 

Saturday, 14 July 2012

14 July 2012: sick

We've all been taking turns being sick this fortnight, it appears. Atilla first, me, then Dada. Me and Dada still sick.


Taking Tilly to doctor, he's being treated for whooping cough but he probably doesn't have it. I can't get a confirmation on the diagnosis because it isn't cost-effective for the system to take the time to confirm - blather about nose swabs, low count, 10-day results, by which time the treatment for whooping cough is finished. In the meantime keep in isolation for 5 days, which means taking time off work.

We believe Tilly had a bad cold, combined with furious coughing due to his crying when he doesn't get his way - like not skipping his medicine. Dada and I are having difficulties with this strain of cold virus, and so is my boss.

I'm ever thankful Ah Ma and Ah Gong live only 30min drive away. And they have a good relationship with Tilly. And she's free to look after Tilly.

I had a taste of what life could be like if it were Dada and I and Tilly in splendid isolation. I'd drive Tilly and Dada mad when I'm sick, and don't realise I'm still too sick to look after an active changeable toddler.


Tilly has fun with "bish". He picks random imaginary fluff off his clothing, drops it into my palm, and I put it into the rubbish bin. It's an improvement from him picking my nose, giving it to me, and I put it into the rubbish bin.


He's learning the word 'sheep'. Did I mention he know the word "dragon"?

Friday, 6 July 2012

6 July 2012: this is the way he eats his spaghetti

He carefully ignores the pasts lovingly snipped into toddler-sized pieces.

He reaches for my plate, picking through the spaghetti strands. Too long. Too short. Ah, just right.

Agog with success, he merrily whirls it around, chanting his mantra, "Dada Dada Dada..." (Dada cooked dinner) until he is satisfied with his results. He stuffs the strand into his mouth.

He reaches for my plate, for a repeat.


This sound real cute, and it was too to see in action.

I haven't counted the sauce splatters yet.

Monday, 2 July 2012

It's not you, it's me

Dear Atilla,

It's not you. It's never you, even though I say it is you.

It's me. I have unrealistic expectations of you. It is completely not your responsibility.

You get frustrated, and you sweep things off the table. It's what babies do.

You can't explain why you do things the way you do, or do the things you do. Babies are just starting out on adding new words to their repertoire, let alone logic and explanations.

You are learning the boundaries of living with mum and dada. Mum and dada are learning how to be firm with you.

I wish you will accept what I say. Sometimes things around the home are dangerous. You are absolutely no good at judging risk. However, if you don't take risks then you will never learn how to learn the skill of risk-management.


Impasse. Sort of.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

1 July 2012: wha-?

So not alert. Atilla learned a new word a few days ago. Do not recall what it was.

Barely held onto my temper with him today during baking. He and I worked so well yesterday. He bashed the weetbix, he mixed the batter. Today he wanted to spoon the weetbix and eat the batter.

He swept everything near him off the prep bench, clattering loudly onto the floor.

Thank goodness for Dada to keep us apart from each other.

I'm learning baking though. Converting thick dough/batter into mini cupcakes - lower the baking temperature (even allowing for fan-forced oven) so that it cooks in 12-15 minutes.

In this instance, bake at 150C.

I'm still assessing converting to muffin-size cupcakes. At 150C, the center is still doughy after 25 minutes. So perhaps bake at 160C.


I was musing aloud on the words Atilla now knows. He knows more than he'll say.

He knows 'chair' and 'table'.

Interestingly, when I asked if he knew the words, he immediately came to the child-sized chair and table to sit down and ... draw, I think. He definitely did draw today.

Note Atilla did not respond his "yes" or "no", but demonstrated what a table and chair was used for.


He very nicely waved "good bye" to me as he was driven down the driveway.


He sat on his toddler trike and played by himself.


What was that word? Noun? Pronoun? Not an adjective.

I shall fall asleep pondering.