The Nature of Play Essay

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Scenario) You are working in an Early Years setting and within the team there is conflict about the nature of play and its role in the curriculum. Demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the nature of play, explain what it is, why children engage in it and how it contributes to children’s development and learning. Critically engage with the literature and include the views of key theorists about the significance of play ‘Early childhood education is underpinned by a strong tradition which regards play as essential to learning and development’ (Wood& Attefield, 2005: 1). This view is derived from educators such as Vygotsky, Frobel, Bruce, Isaac and Moyles who have carried out various research and observations on the effects of…show more content…
Such an importance is highlighted by Vygotsky: ‘in play, a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behaviour, in play it is as though he were a head taller than his normal self’ (Tassoni & Beith, 2002:366) Hence the engagement of play allows children to demonstrate knowledge and abilities which are beyond their everyday competence. On the other hand, despite play allowing children to gain new knowledge and experience, it can also allow them to express skills and techniques they already posses, allowing them to adapt, refine and use them in new situations. ‘Every human child is born with the biological possibility to play’ as stated by (Bruce, 2001) therefore many children are eager to play when given the right environment and resources. Play is an activity that is self driven and freely chosen by each individual child thus making it more likely to be carried out. ‘Whilst playing, a child creates their own rules therefore he or she is determining what is the right or wrong way to carry out the activity’ (Wood& Attefield, 2005). This open structure to play, leads a child to experiment and engage in new situations without the fear of failure thus fostering their mental growth. The notion of play allows a child to take on an ‘inventive role in constructing new ideas and setting their own goals’ as described by Smidth (2002:8) thus allowing them to build on
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