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Importance of play Essay

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I will be doing a project on which gender has more influence to play in home corner and what play also interacts with children? The reason I am doing this projects is because this project is going to help me find out the differences in each gender’s role. I want to find why children at the age of 4-5yrs do not play with the other gender (e.g. Girls with boys and boys with girls.) The three questions I will be focusing on are

1) How gender effects home corner?

2) How play promotes children’s relationship with peers and adults in home -corner?

3) Does resources of multicultural determine the gender of home corner?

Home corner is a role-play that supports an individual in their learning about knowledge and understanding of the world.

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Play enables children to learn by exploring, to practise skills, to learn to use imagination in order to understand how things work and to understand social roles.

Culture is a set of learned beliefs, values and behaviours the way of life shared by the members of a society. (www.saa.org/publications/sampler/terms.html)

Culture is the collection of values and norms associated with the group. Culture is intended to describe all the features of a group that make it different and distinct from other groups. Culture differences due to different life and learning experiences can effect communication and understanding.

Gender is the sex of an individual (boy and girl or man and woman).

Literature Review:

History of play

In 1873, Spencer “declared that play activity, driven by surplus energy is directed towards activities which have a prominent role in the animal’s/person’s life. He emphasised a close relationship between art and play saying that “. Art is but one kind of play.”

There are many types of plays the children learn from:

Sensory-motor play.

Sensory/ Messy play touching, smelling, tasting and looking helps the child explores and experience the world through their senses, they then begins to explore objects, materials and toys outside themselves.

Games with rules.

Playing games with rules helps the child understand that you need to share and give a turn when playing with some toys. It gives the child an opportunity to learn about rules, which help a child become more disciplined and helps them share with each other.

Symbolic play

Children often represent their social world through symbolic play. Children signal that they are about to start, or change playing; by various methods such as saying “do you want to play with me?” “Now I’m a monster” and close the playing by negating the roles “I’m not dead any more” marking boundaries of when children enter and leave the play.

Symbolic play enables the experience of subjective realities in alternative environments, whilst also sharing this experience with others. The participants agree

To create an alternative reality.

Abused children find symbols or metaphors to describe their pain, thus allowing them to explore past relationships in a multi-dimensional way and make some meaning and resolution of their past.

Freud identified his theories of play as a repetition of symbolic games being the ego attempt to repeat actively a traumatic event, previously experienced passively, thus allowing the child to gain mastery over the event. From this, a psychoanalytic approach to child analysis developed which used play to interpret the child’s unconscious motivation. The two people, on the whole, who were responsible for this development, are Anna Freud and Melanie Klein, through their work with neurotic children. ( http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/9158/play.htm)

Recently there have been many theorists who have written many articles and journals about children and their imagination in play. Every child is unique, and has his/her own imagination that he/she can’t share with his friends or anyone else. Most theorists have different views about how play is important in the child’s life (e.g. Albert Bandura (born in 1925). Albert Bandura argues that people learn from what they see and hear, and that people often imitate or copy others without external reinforcement and conditioning association-taking place.

Bandura argued that people are not only influenced by reinforcement but they are also influenced by what they see in the media and what happens to other people. Bandura argues that people will model themselves on other people who are rewarded or ‘reinforced’.

Learning undoubtedly influences human development, conditioning and imitation in learning how local environment is about influencing people at different levels.


Most children spend their time in home corner and try many things that they have seen from other people e.g. pretending to cook like they might have seen mummy cooking in the kitchen, or trying to feed the dolly as their mummy feeds them, or try dressing them selves etc…

“By providing a setting for role play, the home corner allows children to make sense of their immediate world.”

By looking at other people, children try to imitate and pretend to be someone else with their friends and perform familiar roles (e.g. mom, dad etc…)

Children also react the events they have experienced in the past or present like going to the doctor, talking to the policeman, looking at the builders, paying the money to the shop keeper when gone for shopping, or making noises when they see a fire engine going past them or acting out as fire fighters using their imagination and what they do as a fireman, talking on the phone, visiting daddy, having a birthday party, dressing up to ‘go out,’ celebrating holidays, going to church, and attending weddings, funerals, picnics, and movies. “By providing a setting for role-play, the home corner allows children to make sense of their immediate world. Children have numerous opportunities to work together, express their feelings, and use language to communicate roles and respond to one another’s needs and requests.” Childcare and education, Third Edition, Tina Bruce and Carolyn Meggit, (hodder and Stoughton), 2004.

Role-play, it has been argued, is used to provide help to children so they can come to terms with their own experiences, ‘to play over and over the important happenings of their lives’ (Plowden et al., 1967)

Other researchers suggest that play is held together by children’s knowledge of scripts, that is, by schematic representations of events including information about the temporal and causal organization of a set of related acts, which are obligatory and which optional, and the associated props and roles (French et al., 1985).

G�nc� (1987) argues that children’s shared (public) script knowledge allows them to establish a general framework for their play and provides the grounds for the further negotiation of play through individual (private) contributions.


Play also helps people to meet emotional needs and adult ‘recreation’ often involves ‘play’. (Childcare and education, Third Edition, Tina Bruce and Carolyn Meggit, (Hodder and Stoughton), 2004.)

Skinner (1938) believed that conceptualized play as a learning response to a set of stimuli (e.g. toys). In his view, play was seen as a problem solving behavior because it is complex and has investigative features.

Bateson (1972) considers play as a means of developing children’s communication skills.

Piaget was the first theorist who separated social and emotional development but focused play toward cognitive development. He argues that play contributes to intellectual development through the process of ‘accommodation’ and ‘assimilation’

He believes that accommodation is the main sort of play that children achieve. They take this idea and fit in the knowledge they know and understand.

According to Vygotsky, play is a leading activity of child development as it supports all the aspects of child development. This involves the ability to mentally represent experiences and what happens through play.

He also made a note that make-believe play is socially and culturally determined, and as children explore this type of play they are depending on their understanding of the social life and rules of their communities.


In the past decades there were activities in the society that men thought women could do and activities that women thought men could do. In the twentieth century there were gender roles for people and that worked according to the government (e.g. the boys have greater access than girls in education and men are over representing in important decision-making).

On the present day, when children grow up probably at the age of 3yrs to 4yrs, some children tend to recognise themselves as boys and girls. In some plays, children stereotype other children and tend to play with the same sex (i.e. boys with boys, girls with girls). In most play boys tend to play freely and tend to be more active

while girls take their time in exploring. Children don’t understand that in some activities girls can contribute just as much as boys can. Most children as boys, think that girls can’t be policeman and boys can’t look after babies. At the age of five, children tend to form a group of the same gender and won’t let the other gender play with them. Looking at their parents or their relative, boys think and also set in their minds that girls are suppose to be looking after babies and families, and boys are suppose to be working hard like, building a house, or doctors, or fire-fighters etc… some children imitate other people’s language. They keep their concentration away from girls and also try to stay away from girls.

Children are more knowledgeable about the wide variety of gender stereotypes and gender roles. At the same time they have open minds about what the males and females can do and this continues in the adolescence and this kind of thinking gets stronger.

Gender stereotyping affects behaviour only when children incorporate those beliefs into their own gender identities, self-perceptions of what they can do at play in school and further perceptions in society.

Gender Roles:

John Locke believed that children are born as blank slate. He believes that children are tabula rasa. John Locke also believes children are born with nothing at all, and all kinds of experiences and responsibilities can shape them up in any way they wish, e.g. rewarding them for good behaviour not with sweets or money but appraisals and approvals.

Jean Jacques Rousseau disagrees with John Locke and believes that children are not blank slate and children are filled with all the knowledge with the adult instruction. Children only need to know what is right and what is wrong and are mature enough to learn themselves.

Piaget does not believe that children’s learning depends on the reinforcement, such as reward from the adults. According to his cognitive development theory, children actively construct knowledge as they manipulate the world.

Vygotsky (1934/1987): According to Vygotsky social interaction in particular, cooperative dialogues between children and more knowledgeable member of society is necessary for children to acquire the way of thinking and behaving that make up a community’s culture. Vygotsky believed that as adults and more expert’s peers help children master culturally meaningful activities, the communication between them becomes part of children’s thinking.

Bronfenbrenner emphasizes that the developing person is embedded in a series of environmental systems that interact with one another and with the individual to influence development.


The way I am going to be working towards my project is by having a structure-where I will be observing children in the home corner. Firstly I will ask at least six boys to play in the home corner. I will be observing their communication with other children. Then I will be taking brief notes of what they are playing with. I will also be observing the situation they will be playing at. When boys are playing they tend to chose their own activities that interests them and choose as much as character they like in their play. The main purpose of observation will e to see how they engage with role play and also what language is used during the role play.Boys are more likely to go towards action situations instead of sitting down to play. Boys tend to be noisier that girls and tend to make friends with children who have high confidence.

Boys don’t like any equipment that they think girls play with or they think is for girls. Children tend to play out the situation they have been through e.g. boys mostly tend to be a policeman because they have telephone, guns, and different tools hanged to their belt. Boys when walking around with any thing in their hands they tend to use their imagination of that thing e.g. telephone made out of mega blocks or a toy drill machine they think it is gun. The reason I used a plastic drill machine is because boys tend to play with tools, which have some sort of action, more than girls. In a boy’s imagination if a toy or furniture is broken they start banging the toy/furniture until it is not fixed.

I will then be observing the character boys are pretending to play with their friends and ask them few questions like what character they are playing? And observe them about who and how they relate to the situation to them?

Then I will have six girls playing in the home corner with free equipment. I know girls are then to play quieter then boys and use their imagination to their familiar person (e.g. mum, dad, or their favourite auntie that they like very much). Just like the boys girls tend to choose their own activities and they prefer those, which are quietly done. They play toward kitchens and babies and looking after other children etc. I will be observing the girls in the same way as boys.

I will then ask the children to play together (six boys and six girls). I will be observing their conversation towards each other and try to see if the boys contribute as much to the group as the girls they are playing with. I will also observe them in their situation /events plays, and see if boys tend to play with girls in their activities or if girls tend to play in boys activities. The method techniques I will be using are narrative report, which will help me to write a brief note on what the children are doing, their attitudes, communication and actions towards the other gender and play. Time sampling which will help me to observe the time each gender to play with each other and time they tend to spend in the home corner individually and in group events sampling, which will help me observe whether the child is playing and what materials/equipment/toys they are using. When there is a role-play, the setting needs to be free role-play for children to explore and express their feelings and imaginations in the play. I would also like to observe how children interact with peers and adults around them.

This will help me to see if children are different with peers and adults (e.g. if a child is talking to their friend he/she is talking freely, but if the child is talking to the adult he/she will watch his/her word and behaviour what they would be talking about.) in my method I would also like to observe the children about their culture and observe them if they are aware about the attitude, beliefs, and values about their culture. I will be able to see if they are expressing their feelings towards the knowledge that is given to them by their parents and expressing them in the setting with other children. I will also be observing the play that effects culture, gender and environment in the setting for the children. In my method techniques I would also want to interview the staff about the behaviour of the children in the home corner.

The materials in the home corner that I am going to use for both genders, and have my observation done according to the materials I provide for them in the setting are the following:

* Dolls – female and male, commercial and homemade, to reflect the skin colours, hair styles, facial features, and special needs of children in the programme

* Stuffed animals

* Doll beds, blankets, pram, front/back pack

* Baby rattles, bibs, bottles, nappies, clothes (trousers and dresses)

* Broom, dustpan

* Toaster (wooden or de-electrified), clocks (wind-up or de-electrified)

* Mirror

* Two telephones

* Small stepladder

* Dress-up clothes and accessories-hats, shoes, purses, wallets, briefcases, scarves, head wraps, jewellery, masks, neckties, belts, suspenders

* Lunch boxes, picnic hamper, laundry basket

* Toolbox and tools

* Envelopes, cancelled stamps, seals, stickers, junk mail

* Typewriter, keyboard

* Sturdy cardboard boxes

* Low, movable partitions

* Rocking chair or easy chair

* Blankets, sheets, quilts, pillows, beach towels, sleeping bags

* Photos of programme’s children and their families

* Wall hangings reflecting local community

* Real plants, watering can

* Real cooking equipment (stored out of children’s reach and used only with adult supervision)

* Hotplate, toaster oven

* Electric frying pan

* Reference photos and recipes

* Cookbooks, picture recipes

* Field-trip photos (for role-play ideas)


* Home-builders’ props: toolbox, tools, empty paint cans, brushes, pipe fittings

* Doctor’ props: lab coats, plasters, gauze, stethoscope, cloth bandages

* Farm props: overalls, pail, straw, animal brush, empty feed bag

* Petrol-station props: empty oil can, hose, rags, empty paste-wax can, jack, spanner, steering wheel, hubcaps

* Fire-station props: hats, raincoats, wellies boots, hoses

* Restaurant props: hats, aprons, cups, straws, serviettes, menus, order pads and pencils

* Fishing props: fishing poles, nets, heavy boots, buckets, oars, petrol can.

When young children are watching television they are aware that TV images can represent reality. Since the 1950’s researchers and public citizens have concerns about attitudes and behaviour that children have by watching T.V. Most studies believe that TV is great impact on children by violence, other researchers focus on TV that teaches children to be undesirable gender and ethnic stereotype. Children who are aggressive learn from the media through TV because most of the cartoons have violence and they teach children that being violence and aggressive solves the problem and all the children like to have a go on whatever they see that they think is interesting by watching in the television. Violence has an impact not only on parents but also in peer relationships.

Ethnic and stereotype is another impact on children by T.V. Even though females are involved in more careers but on T.V the media has still shown that women are loving, caring and looks after the family. This affects children because boys like to be hyper and loud whereas girls should not be loud but quiet. The T.V has an impact on both genders because children have seen the advertisements and people are with the same sex (boys talking to boys and girls talking to girls), so in the children’s view they might think that is how it should be like and they stereotype other children from what they see from the media.

How gender affects Home-corner?

How play promotes children’s relationship with peers and adults in home -corner?

Does resources of multicultural determine the gender of home corner?

Reference List:

Bartlett, S and Burton, D. Introduction to Education Studies. (2007) (2nd eds), SAGE publication LTD.

Childcare and education, Third Edition, Tina Bruce and Carolyn Meggit, (hodder and Stoughton), 2004.

Cole, M., Cole, S.R. & Lightfoot, C. (2005) ‘The Development of Children’ edn. 5, New York: Worth Publishers

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