Types of Play, by Karen
My name is Karen and I am a Kindergarten teacher at Dadi Prestige International Academy. I am excited to be getting ready for the start of our new term, and have been looking at different stages of social play in children to aid the structure of my lessons in the upcoming weeks. My educational background is within child development and psychology, which I am using to help me prepare for the start of the new term. I spent three years during my undergraduate degree researching the most impactful and conducive methods to aid learning: and found low stress and playful environments to be a focal point to encourage children’s development.
Play is a fundamental building block of children’s development; being a cornerstone for personal growth, motor skills, abstract thinking, socialization and integration with the child’s self-concept. Mildred Parten researched the development of social play in children between the ages of 2-5 years. She discovered that a child’s development of their social skills is reflected in the way they play. She identified six separate stages of play, all of which are integral for development. Each stage begins at different ages and corresponds to increases in eagerness to share with others.
Piaget’s stages of cognitive development aids understanding of at what ages children are able to cognitively grasp certain skills and concepts- understanding the four stages helps me as a teacher choose developmentally appropriate activities for my class.
One main concept in learning is Vygotsky’s research in which the teacher acts as a scaffold for the children to feel secure enough to safely engage in the learning process. He concluded that the potential for cognitive development depends upon the “zone of proximal development” (ZPD): a level of development attained when children engage in social behavior. Full development of the ZPD depends upon full social interaction which is gathered via play with other children of the same age. Understanding Vygotsky’s theory helps me work on how I can best support my class as their ‘scaffold’ so they feel safe to explore and learn through play.
To increase the child’s capacity to learn readily, making sure that all types of play are available for students is a priority for me when planning my lessons. I also keep in mind that my students are the correct developmental age for the specific activity.
Being able to use my educational background to create a learning environment which supports learning with my class is really exciting for me and I can’t wait to be able to meet our new students and have fun!