I observed a class of four-year-old trainees who are registered at the Kid Development Center on the George Mason University school. This observation lasted about fifteen minutes with an overall of twelve students in the classroom. At the time of my observation the trainees were engaging in free playtime where they are enabled to play video games, make crafts, and engage with their fellow classmates. I was seated in the corner of the class where the children might not quickly see me or get sidetracked by me.
I remained seated throughout the entire observation so the students would not be impacted by my presence. Numerous various activities were happening at the very same time, but a couple standout circumstances reminded me of lots of disciplines we concentrated on in class. One particular observation was the different designs of play the students were participating in. About half of the students were taking part in useful play while the others were taking part in remarkable play.
Constructive play is characterized by the act of producing or constructing something while significant, or make-believe play, is characterized by acting out everyday and fictional functions (Berk, 2010, p262). The two play styles are really common in children around the age of four.
There were about five kids playing “house.” In the household there was a kid pretending to be the mommy, the daddy, the older brother, the more youthful sis, and the young puppy. The mommy was making supper while the daddy was viewing television and monitoring the children while they did their research.
The girl who was functioning as the puppy provided a couple of occasional “ruffs” to make her presence known. The girl, who assumed her function as the mom, yelled out “dinners all set.” The two young kids pretending to be the kids stopped doing homework and took a seat at the dinner table. The young lady playing the mom sternly stated to her children “take care, the food is really hot. It just came out of the oven.” They continued this story for the remainder of my observation with different story lines and new characters added to the story. This situation depicts the perfect description of the kind of play style referred to as significant play.
Dramatic play permits children to fit the reality of the world into their own interests and knowledge. One of the purest forms of symbolic thought available to young children, dramatic play, contributes strongly to the intellectual development of children. Young children learn by imagining and doing and dramatic play allows them to do so. Dramatic play also promotes the use of speaking and listening skills. When children take part in this type of play, they practice words they have heard others say, and realize that they must listen to what other “players” say in order to be able to respond in an appropriate fashion. This style of play also promotes the development of social skills through interaction with others, peers or adults, which is a necessary factor in a child’s future.
While some children were playing “house” others were taking part in constructive play. In this stage, toddlers have a deep understanding of what various objects can do and will now try to build things with the toys and everyday objects they find around them. One child had a box of blocks and was building a train track. Once he finished he assembled a line of trains to ride along the track he had just built. He repeatedly made noises that trains usually make such as “choo-choo.” Other children were interlocking Lego blocks and creating various structures while some were playing with play-dough and sculpting whatever came to their mind. When toddlers play with these open-ended materials, they have the chance to build many different skills. These could include using art materials to create a picture or project giving toddlers practice using fine motor skills that they need to write and perform tasks that they will need for the rest of their lives. You may never think that the different styles of play a child engages in effects them or their future, but when you look deeper into the various cognitive and motor developments these plays enhance you can see that it is very important for all children to participate in these behaviors.
Berk, L. (2010). Development Through The Lifespan. (5th Edition). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
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