03 SES 10 A, Curriculum Implementation and Teachers' View
Play is recognized as a central activity of preschoolers and different theories emphasize how play contributes to child development and learning. Theory and research also point to the many advantages of the joint play between children and preschool teachers which relate to developmental and educational attainments: joint play contributes to the development of children’s cognitive, emotional and social abilities, supports communication and the establishment of positive relationships and provides a suitable context for the introduction of educational goals.
Teachers themselves perceive play as valuable for young children and believe that, directly or indirectly, play supports development and learning. At the same time, research indicates preschool teachers’ ambiguity and uncertainty about whether and how they can be involved in children’s play. One important factor mediating the degree and type of teachers’ involvement in preschoolers’ play relates to their beliefs regarding play and its role in development and learning. However, this connection has not been adequately researched, especially with regards to implementation of educational goals.
The present study contributes to understanding teachers’ involvement in preschoolers’ play and the factors mediating the adoption of joint play in the early childhood classroom. The research questions addressed were: (1) How do preschool teachers understand children’s play (2) What are their self-reported practices regarding teacher-children joint play in the preschool classroom and (3) What affects such practices.
Sherwood, S. & Reifel, S. (2010). The multiple meanings of play: exploring preservice teachers’ beliefs about a central element of early childhood education. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 31 (4), 322-343. Wood, E. & Attfield, J. (2005). Play, Learning and the Early Childhood Curriculum. London: Sage. Kontos, S. (1999). Preschool teachers' talk, roles and activity settings during free play. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 14 (3), 363-382. Bennett, N., Wood, L. and Rogers, S. (1997). Teaching through Play: Teacher's Thinking and Classroom Practice. Buckingham: Open University Press. Saracho, O. N., & Spodek, B. (2003). Contemporary Perspectives on Play in Early. Childhood Education. Vol. III. Greenwich, Connecticut: Information Age Publishing.
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