Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Thoughts on: Play and Pedagogy in Early Childhood 4

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

This book is due back next week, so I'm rushing through these jottings. 

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

Section 4. Play in Action.
The Child’s Whole Play Experience, Organising for Play, Play at School. 

My take-away: Children Play all day, even if adults do not recognise it as such. They play when they wake, at mealtime, wearing clothes, in the car, in the bath, etc.

I quite like Table 12.1 on page 229. In summary: Aborigine support as needed vs Japanese interdependence vs Western promote autonomy.

Organising for Play variations. Of the five different styles or programmes, these are 3 the ones which resonate with me. 

  • Work then Play – it’s the approach I learned, and still practice.
  • Project Approach – Play is used to support adult-selected learning outcomes. Children control the content of the play.
  • Reggio Emilia – in this peer-control style, children have the control of their long-term projects and the adults support these for as long as the interest holds, e.g. displaying the children’s work, extend beyond their everyday experiences, facilitating the ‘shared wisdom’ of the group. I wish I could do this, but it reads like a lot of work for the adults. 

With regards to Play at School, this excerpt (p 276) is a good simile as to how it is in New Zealand these days I reckon. 

We Can’t Do That 

Amy and Eliza are both aged 8. They say, ‘We don’t do skipping, ‘cause we don’t have stuff we can use. And there’s no place you can go to do that. There’s no skipping and no elastics. Sometimes we’re allowed to keep out the big rope after fitness, and people get in the middle and we play with it. But then someone says there’re note going to play or they’re not their friend, and we can’t play.’ 

Terry (aged 8) reports: ‘We can’t play football, ‘cause there’s no grass. And we can’t play on the asphalt ‘cause it’s hard and we might fall over. We can’t play marbles ‘cause there’s nowhere flat. [At my last school] we used to play it where there was just a little hole and little bit [of ground] where we could play marbles.’ 
(Dockett, 1997)

With regards to bullying at school:

Sam (aged 9):
This kid came and punched Brett up a bit, but said Brett had started it. But this other kid was heaps bigger than Brett, he was just huge! All night he [the other child] was punching himself so he had a big bruise and so he could say Brett punched him first.
(Dockett, 1997)

Friends are incredibly important. Friendship interactions helps the ability to read a social situation, and develop a representational theory of mind and the ability to consider the perspectives of others. 

“Having friends enables the practice and refinement of social skills such as group entry and negotiation.” (p282)

  • Dockett, S. 1997. Interviews on school play. Unpublished manuscript.

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