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A Critical Evaluation of The Value of Play Essay

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Play has a vital role in a child’s learning and development. Each adult has their own interpretation of what play is, but play can be interpreted as, ‘children being given the opportunity to use resources and facilities provided in order to develop their skills and expand their knowledge. This can be done spontaneously through imaginative play, and using communication to enhance their independent learning. Play can also be seen as a way a child learns and develops emotionally, physically and socially.


What is play?

Play can be interpreted as, children being given the opportunity to use their imaginative skills, to learn as well as develop their physical, social, emotional and cognitive skills. Play can be child initiated, or adult led, where they provided with resources and support in both situations. Play is an attitude that manifests itself in different behaviours. Gavey (1991) stated “play was a forward and backwaref 7cd movement where different levels of action, communication, and interaction are needed.

It could be regarded as deeply serious and purposeful or trivial and purposeless, (Attfiled 2005). Similarly, (Molyes J) stated “play is without a doubt the most natural way children learn all over the world”.

Babies and young children learn through interaction with an adult, who could be parents, siblings, other family members as well as practitioners who have responsibility of looking after the well-being of a child. However, Froebel stated, play is what children are involved with when they initiate a task and work is what they do when fulfil a task required by an adult. Bruce 2005. The role of an adult is entering a child play that is child initiated, and intervening to extend the play without interfering. Bruce Children need to play with objects and materials and resources in order for play to integrate cognitive processes and stimulate the imagination.

The value of play

Play is seen as the “only” way that young children learn and develop their social, physical, cognitive and emotional skills. Bruce(2005)
Value of play
A practitioner who understands the importance of play, offers children freedom, where they are able to choose their own activities.
* Gives a child freedom
* Responsibilities
* Child initiated
* Adult led
* Risks
* Consequences

Child initiated play

Child initiated play can be interpreted as any activity that is started by a child to meet their personal needs and interests, Moyles J (2008). This can alos be seen as active learning, where the childis engaging in the activity they are doing. Bruner argued and put forward children require choice and should be able to make their own decisions in order to learn and develop their skills. For example in a reception class where children are of the age 4-5 years, being given the freedom of being able to choose any activity available to them and to carry out their chosen task or activity in their choice of environment can be seen as child initaitiated play. The adult has no role in the choice of play as the child has the control of what they are setting out to do. However the adult provides the child with resouces.

Through child initaied play children learn to become creative through critical thinking. When having achoen an activity to arry out they start to make cnectuoins which transfroms their understanding. Howevr if a child does not understand or have the skill to carry out an activity and feels they want to, they tend to approach an adult who then supports the child by interevening. (BRUCE) the adult can then support the child by scaffolding (BRUNER) for example Similary Vygotakys stated in his theory a childs needs to be independent in order to learn, however a child still requires the adult to present to aide them when needed. For example. By allowing a child the choice of free play they are able to explore DEFINITION By investigating childen learn and are able to ask the adult questions where the adult will support them by asking open eneded question and providing them with encouragement.

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