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The Role of Adults in Children’s Play

Exploring + Discovering = Learning? Bennett, Wood and Rogers (1997) questioned the view that exploring and discovering leads to learning. They argued that children needed adults’ help to make sense of their discoveries and to make links and connections between new discoveries and their existing knowledge. Repetitive play can…

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Observing Play

Purpose of observing play Observing children’s play offers an important way in which adults can monitor and assess children’s progress. This view is set out in the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority’s document Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage: Logging children’s use of a particular activity or play scenario helps practitioners…

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Equity in Play

Differences? The research findings of Farver and Shin (1997) suggested that there are discernible differences between Korean-American and Anglo-American children’s pretend play themes. Korean-American play themes seemed to involve minimal social conflict, while Anglo-American children’s play themes seemed to involve an emphasis on the individual and could include a degree…

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Cross-cultural Ideas of Play

An important activity? In considering the question, What is play? parents, early years and primary school practitioners working will likely respond that play is in an important activity. The dominant discourse about young children’s learning and development stresses the need for young children and babies to play. We may…

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Do Children Need to Play?

The value of play There has been a long tradition of valuing play in early years settings. However, most definitions and descriptions of, and justifications for, play are from the adult’s point of view. The dominant discourse of play in early years settings presents play as: fun enjoyable free…

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What Play Means to Children

The child’s perspective Elsewhere on this website we have explored why we value play, but in doing so we have been operating within an educational framework and thinking about ways in which play may, or may not, support young children’s learning and development. Strandell argues that practitioners tend to: …put…

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Why We Value Play

Why we value play – what does it do? We have seen elsewhere (What is play?) that play is notoriously difficult to define. However, this in itself is not problematic. What is important is that practitioners, parents and children within a setting share their ideas about what constitutes play…

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Free and Structured Play

Different types of play When thinking about play in early years and primary settings, it is sometimes helpful to try to make a distinction between different types of play experience: not in terms of listing categories of play (e.g. role-play, small world play) but rather in terms of the role of adults in…

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