The role of play in children's learning
The role of play in children's learning

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The role of play in children's learning

2.4 Opportunities for play within your setting

Activity 3

Timing: 2 hours 0 minutes

Aim: to explore the opportunities for play within your setting.

  1. Look at your planning for one day this week. Make notes on the following questions.

    1. (a) What opportunities will the children have to play?

    2. (b) What sorts of play activity have you chosen to structure?

    3. (c) What play activities have you planned for an adult to participate in?

    4. (d) What do you hope the children will gain from the various play activities?

  2. Choose two or three activities to observe during the course of the day. Make notes on:

    1. (a) who participates;

    2. (b) what the children actually do;

    3. (c) what, if anything, adults do to support the play or to intervene in any other way.

    At the end of each activity, note what you think the children gained from it.

  3. Choose an activity that you do not categorise as play and make notes on:

    1. (a) who participates;

    2. (b) what the children's and adult's roles are;

    3. (c) the aim of the activity;

    4. (d) what the children actually do.

    At the end of the activity, note what you think the children gained from it.

  4. Look at the notes you have made in response to questions 1–3. What appears to be the differences between play and non-play activities in terms of:

    1. (a) what the children do;

    2. (b) what the adults do;

    3. (c) who participates (e.g. patterns of participation relating to gender, or languages spoken by the children);

    4. (d) what the children appear to have gained;

    5. (e) how you make judgements about children's learning during play activities?

Activity 3 may have raised questions about the extent to which we should be emphasising play as the prime vehicle through which young children learn. It may also have led you to begin to question the validity of the play/work divide. In Section 3 you will have the opportunity to reflect further on these issues.


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