14 SES 13 B, Early Childhood Education and Play: Home and daycare contexts
Play has been often tried to confine through out different criterias and/or stages. Allthough these criterias/ stages can vary depending on the point of view, it is common to all of them to see play as a voluntary, imaginary, self-rewarding, satisfying and pleasuring social process. (Burghandt 2011, Eberle 2014, Callois 2006, Kalliala 1999.)
Play evolves and changes along with child´s age and development. Play also evolves and changes during the actual play situation. Play is seen as an social process more than easily defiened phenomenon. (Burghardt 2006, Hakkarainen 2001, Helenius & Lummelahti 2014, Eberle 2014.) Play is also seen as a social structured process which continues to the adolescense, allthought the form of play naturally evolves. The importance of play for the childs development is evident (Lillard 2015, Hakkarainen & Bredikyte 2013).
Children´s development is influenced by the forms of their play and adult guidance is essential for the play to evolve. Play is important for the children´s development and it is seen as a social process. It is important to find out, how children play and whith whom they play, because, play and playfulness is very important in children’s formation and maintenance of friendships, which are, in turn, very important in supporting healthy social and emotional development (Panksepp, 2007, 57-66.)
The focus of this study is especially on the quality and forms of play of three year old children, because at the age of three, children´s play evolves towards imaginary play. It is important to know what and with whom children are playing at the age of three, when this development happens and what backround variables in ECEC and in home context influences to children´s play.
In this study, play is divided into different types which are representing the quality of three year old children´s play from the social and cognitive development point of view. Quality is defined from three year old children´s developmental psychology point of view based on Piaget´s and Vygotsky´s theory of children´s development. (Piaget 1972, Vygotsky 1977, 2003.)
When defiening the quality, play has been divided into following types: 1. Child plays a lot, 2. Child changes play often, 3. Child continues unfinished play for the next day, 4. Child plays alone, 5. Child plays with another child/children (not with sybling), 6.Child plays with parent/parents, 7. Child plays with sybling/syblings, 8.Child is watching other children´s play.
This study examines three year old children´s play in Finnish home context. The focus is on the quality of play and different forms of play. Furthermore, the study compares children´s play between home and early childhood education enviroments. The aim is also to deepen and broaden already excisting information about play and indirectly simultaneously by making this study enhance play´s position in children´s every day lives both in early childhood education and home enviroments.
It is especially important to study three year old children, because play at this age group has been studied less at least in Finland and overall in European context comparing to other age groups. To be able to discover the play preferences of the three year old children in home and educational institution environment, we proposed the following research questions:
1. What do Three Year Old Children Play (The Forms and Quality of Play) at Home and in Early Childhood Education Context?
2. Are there differences conserning Play between Early Childhood Education Context and Home Context?
3. Are there differences between Genders conserning Play between in Home and in the Early Childhood Context?
The STEPS Study is a quantitative study of a birth cohort of 1827 children until 36 months of age. The cohort consists of all mothers (Finnish or Swedish speaking) who had live deliveries in the Hospital District of south-west Finland from January 2008 to April 2010 and their children (n = 9811 mothers, n = 9936 children). Of these, 1797 mothers and their 1827 children were recruited to an intensive follow-up group during the first trimester of pregnancy or soon after delivery. Data from multiple sources are used to obtain a picture of the overall well-being of the child and the family. (Lagström et al., 2013.) (See also: https://www.utu.fi/en/sites/cyri/research/steps/Pages/home.aspx) The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the commission on ethics of the University of Turku has proved the STEPS Study. Before enrollment to the research, parents gave written consent. Parents were also informed that they have the right and opportunity to leave at any point from the study, if they want to do so. Survey questionnaire data used in this research were gathered from the parents of three-year-olds (n=947). In the questionnaire, a four-point Likert scale (1 = never, 2 = seldom, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often/a lot) was used. Questions concerning quality of play (for instance: child plays a lot, child plays alone, plays with siblings etc.) and forms of play (for instance: imaginary play, building, doing jigsaw puzzles etc.) was made. Quantitative methods (for example: Paired-Samples T-tests and One-Way Anova -tests) were pursued for the analysis and data consists of the responses from 551 fathers and 549 mothers who answered the questionnaire in 1 year and 3 year study dot. Response rate for mothers is 30.55%, while it is 33.23% for fathers.
According to the preliminary findings, common forms of play at the home environment were the following: playing outdoors, running games, hide-and-seek, play with objects/toys, role play, building, doing jigsaw puzzles, and painting, drawing, pottering, modelling. Results concerning playing outdoors both boys (mean 3.91) and girls (mean 3.81) showed that playing outdoors were extremely common. This result concerning playing outdoors is interesting. The common features concerning the quality of play in the family context were the following: child plays a lot, child plays alone, child changes the play often, child plays with parents, and child plays with other children. For the ECEC context, the preliminary findings of common form of play showed up that: playing outdoors, play with toy cars, building, role play, play with dolls or soft toys and play with objects/toys were general. Concerning the quality of play at the ECEC -context showed that features like: child plays a lot and child plays with other children were general. The aim now is to examine background variables which are influencing on the play both at home and in ECEC environments. The aim is also to find out how adult´s role and conceptions of play influence to the quality and forms of play and how to develop context to support children´s ability to play. Finally, the goal is to study is gender somehow associated to the quality and forms of play.
Burghardt, G.M. 2006. The Genensis of Animal Play. Testing the limits. 2. Painos. London: Bradford Books.Corsaro, W.A. 2014. Interpretive Reproduction in Children’s Play. American Journal of Play, volume 4, number 4 , 488-504.http://www.journalofplay.org/sites/www.journalofplay.org/files/pdf-articles/4-4-article-corsaro-interpretive-reproduction-in-childrens-play.pdf Read 30.12.2016. Caillois, R. 2006. The Definition of Play and the Classification of Games teoksessa Salen, K. & Zimmerman, E. The Game Design Reader, A Rules of Play Anthology. Lontoo: The MIT Press. Csikszentmihalyi, M.1990. Flow. The psychology of Optimal Experience. New York: Harper & Row. Eberle, S. G. 2014. The Elements of Play. Towards a Philosophy and Definition of play. Journal of Play 6. 214-233. Hakkarainen, P. Brédikyte, M., Jakkula, K., Munter, H 2013. Adult play guidance and childrens play development in a narrative play-world. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 20(2), 224. Helenius, A. & Lummelahti, L. 2014. Leikin käsikirja. 2.painos. Jyväskylä. PS-kustannus. P. 14. Kalliala, M. 1999. Enkeliprinsessa ja itsari liukumäessä. Leikkikulttuuri ja yhteiskunnan muutos. Helsinki: Gaudeamus. Lillard , S. A. 2015. The development of play. Teoksessa Handbook of Child Psychology and Developmental Science, Cognitive Processes. Hoboken, New Jersey : Wiley, 425-459. Panksepp, J. (2007). Can play diminish ADHD and facilitate the construction of the social brain? Journal of the Canadian Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 16(2): 57–66. Piaget, J. (1972) Play, dreams and imitation in childhood (3rd edition). London.Routledge &Kegan Paul. Roopnarine, J. L. & Davidson, K. L. 2015. Parent-Child Play across Cultures. Advancing Play Research. American Journal of Play. Vol.7. Issue 2. Pages 228-252. Vygotsky, L. S. 1978. Mind in society. The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge : Harvard University Press. Pages 52-57. Whitebread, D. 2012. The importance of play. A report on the value of children`s play with series of policy recommendations. University of Cambridge.
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