These studies are primarily focused on the respective academic domain or area of development with play viewed as a means to foster child development in these domains. These contributions are associated with the development of broader competencies such as theory of mind,18 symbolic representation,19 and self-regulation20 that not only affect child development in early years but have long lasting effect in the school years and beyond. Traditionally, the majority of studies from this perspective have been done in naturalistic settings with children engaged in free play with little or no adult guidance. It is becoming clear that not all play is created equal and that when older preschoolers are engaged in the kind of play that is more typical for toddlers they may not acquire the full benefits usually associated with play.
Research on children's preferences shows that if children had the design skills to do so, their creations would be completely different from the areas called playgrounds that most adults design for them. Outdoor spaces designed by children would not only be fully naturalized with plants, trees, flowers, water, dirt, sand, mud, animals and insects, but also would be rich with a wide variety of play opportunities of every imaginable type.
If children could design their outdoor play spaces, they would be rich developmentally appropriate learning environments where children would want to stay all day. Playground Paradigm Paralysis We are all creatures of our experience, and our common experiences usually shape the conventional wisdom, or paradigms, by which we operate.
When most adults were children, playgrounds were asphalt areas with gross motor play equipment such as swings, jungle gyms and slides where they went for recess. Most adults see this as their model for a children's playground. So when it comes time to plan and design a playground, the paradigm is to search through the catalogues of playground equipment, pick a piece or two that looks good to the adult and place it in an outdoor space which resembles their childhood memories of playgrounds.
This is easy and doesn't take a whole lot of effort. Then once or twice a day, teachers let children go outside for a recess from their classroom activities to play on the equipment.
Today, fortunately, most playground equipment is becoming much safer than when adults grew up. National standards encourage the installation of safety fall surfaces and ADA is making the equipment more accessible.
However, limiting outdoor playgrounds to gross motor activities and manufactured equipment falls way short of the potential of outdoor areas to be rich play and learning environments for children.
This playground design paradigm paralysis also denies children their birthright to experience the entire natural outdoors which includes vegetation, animals, insects water and sand, not just the sun and air that manufactured playgrounds offer.
It is a well accepted principal in early childhood education that children learn best through free play and discovery. Children's free play is a complex concept that eludes precise definition, but children's play typically is pleasurable, self-motivated, imaginative, non-goal directed, spontaneous, active, and free of adult-imposed rules1,2.
Quality play involves the whole child: Children used to have access to the world at large, whether it was the sidewalks, streets, alleys, vacant lots and parks of the inner city or the fields, forests, streams and yards of suburbia and the rural countryside.
Children could play, explore and interact with the natural world with little or no restriction or supervision. The lives of children today are much more structured and supervised, with few opportunities for free play. Their physical boundaries have shrunk. Parents are afraid for their children's safety when they leave the house alone; many children are no longer free to roam their neighborhoods or even their own yards unless accompanied by adults.
Some working families can't supervise their children after school, giving rise to latchkey children who stay indoors or attend supervised after-school activities. Furthermore, children's lives have become structured and scheduled by adults, who hold the mistaken belief that this sport or that lesson will make their children more successful as adults.
Children have little time for free play any more. And when children do have free time, it's often spent inside in front of the television or computers. For some children, that's because their neighborhood, apartment complex or house has no outdoor play spaces.
With budgets for city and state governments slashed, public parks and outdoor playgrounds have deteriorated and been abandoned.
Children's opportunities to interact in a naturalized outdoor setting is greatly diminished today. Childhood and outdoor play are no longer synonymous.
Today, many children live what one play authority has referred to as a childhood of imprisonment.main types of play in which human children engage (physical play, play with objects, symbolic play, pretence/socio-dramatic play and games with rules) and the implications of each area of research for provision and policy.
The article notes that there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that high-quality pretend play is an important facilitator of perspective taking and later abstract thought, that it may facilitate higher-level cognition, and that there are clear links between pretend play and social and linguistic competence.
The article also notes that there is still a great . The Impact of Pretend Play on Children’s Development: A Review of the Evidence Angeline S.
Lillard, Matthew D. Lerner, Emily J. Hopkins, Rebecca A. Dore, future research on this topic. Defining Pretend Play A preliminary issue . Engaging Stakeholders to Improve the Quality of Children’s Health Care.
the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is leading the national evaluation of these demonstrations. These groups will play an active role in developing curricula for training youth and caregivers to be certified peer specialists (CPS) so they can.
THE POWER OF PLAY A Research Summary on Play and Learning Dr. Rachel E. White for. 2 are presented with a pivotal opportunity to strengthen our connection to child development and high-quality research on the role of play in early learning. an informational guide to young children’s outdoor play spaces C.
quality play at child cares centres, and to what It also helps to involve people using the play spaces in our research project.
4. Presence of living things in the outdoor play environment.