Childrens play theories and contemporary issues

There are many different educational philosophies throughout the world, all of which are designed to promote academic and social growth in children. Some of the most child-centered educational philosophies have their origins in the theories of child development specialists and psychologists who believe that young children learn best through play and self-discovery. These four methods all approach early learning from a developmental perspective, and stress the importance of play and self-directed exploration.

Childrens play theories and contemporary issues

Together, Froebel's writing and educational practice constitute a qualitative shift in the conceptualization of children's play and its role in their education. Much of what Froebel advocated, such as the use of play objects or apparatus to provide learning experiences, was not novel. As was discussed above, Plato had recorded that the ancient Egyptians had used games to teach arithmetic.

However, Froebel went further than any theorist before by placing play at the center of his conception of how young children should be educated. The games he devised and the play apparatus, what he called the gifts and occupations, were extensively described in his books such as Mother's Songs, Games and Stories, a manual for mothers on how to play with their children.

In his Pedagogics of the Kindergarten Froebel detailed how his play apparatus, the gifts, and occupations should be played with. The persuasiveness of Froebel's theories owes much to the Romantic, sometimes, mystical language he used but his theories were innovative in that his conception of play is free from any warnings that unregulated play might be dangerous.

Childrens play theories and contemporary issues

In contrast to earlier traditions Froebel says of play in the early stage of childhood in his Education of Man that "play at this time is not trivial, it is highly serious and of deep significance" p.

However, in Froebel's kindergarten there was no unregulated play as even the free play was planned and constrained. He intimated that play arose from an impulse to activity that in the next stage, a stage he calls boyhood, becomes expressed in work.

Evolutionary Theories of Play Because of the similarities between the play behavior of young children and the behavior of the young of some animal species, the behavior of the latter has also been described as play.

Following the publication in of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, it was almost inevitable that some of his followers would make the connection and attempt adaptive explanations of the play of all species in terms of Darwinian and other evolutionary theories.

These theories gave rise to the first attempts to provide explanations for play, rather than observations of play or uses to which play could be put. Although hints as to how play arises are present in earlier texts, it is not until the nineteenth century that theories of play make their first appearance.

One of the most prominent theories arose from the work of the German philosopher J. Friedrich von Schiller — in his Letters on Aesthetic Education and later the works of English philosopher and sociologist Herbert Spencer — They expounded what was called the surplus energy theory to explain animal play.

Schiller, writing before Darwin, was principally concerned with the relation between play, art, and aesthetics. He believed that a concern with aesthetic appearance emerged in humans when they acted on an impulse "to extend enjoyment beyond necessity" and thereby stimulate their imagination.

Necessity in this context meant the struggle for survival. In support of this argument, he cited the way in nature, a lion sometimes roared, not out of necessity but in order to release its "unemployed energy.

Spencer, a prominent advocate of an evolutionary theory that preceded Darwin's, wrote, in his Principles of Psychology that once an animal no longer had to expend all its energy on survival, the surplus could be released in play.

For Spencer, the release of surplus energy in play took the form of imitation of a "serious" activity. In his book Education, Intellectual, Moral and PhysicalSpencer argued that learning should be made as pleasurable as play, although he makes no connection here to his general theories of play.

Unusually for the time in which he wrote, Spencer drew attention to the fact that girls were often prevented by schools from engaging in noisy play even though it was thought desirable for the adequate development of boys.

Groos argued that play was the expression of an instinct necessary to the survival of the species. The young child, due to its prolonged dependency on adults, did not need the instinct. Hence play is the practice and development of capacities, like sex and fighting, to be used later in life.

Thus, for Groos, the purpose of play was a preparation for life. Famously he claimed that, "instead of saying, the animals play because they are young, we must say, the animals have a youth in order that they may play" and thereby they practice skills necessary for their survival.

This theory, unlike that of surplus energy, could explain not only why play was most prominent in young animals but also why it occurred in isolated animals that were not able to imitate others.

Children today are suffering a severe deficit of play | Aeon Essays

Spencer's theory, which relied on imitation, was unable to explain this. The American psychologist James Mark Baldwin —who did much to popularize Groos in the United States, concluded that play is a function of high utility.

Baldwin subscribed to race recapitulation, one of the most pervasive ideas among psychologists, biologists, and educationalists of the late nineteenth century.

This view held that the development of the individual ontogeny recapitulates, or repeats the principal stages, the development of the human race phylogeny. Race recapitulation appeared in many different areas of social life. It was present in Froebel's and Spencer's work but the American psychologist G.

A variant of race recapitulation was that each individual mind passes through the evolutionary stages that the human race has previously been through.

For Hall play was the recapitulation of an earlier evolutionary state. In Dewey's scheme, the youngest children were given objects to play with that would have been necessary for survival, for example, in the Stone Age. Throwing sticks at an object was held to recapitulate the hunting of wild animals in the Stone Age and in Hall's view, because it was a reliving of a past evolutionary state it provided more pleasure than throwing sticks at nothing in particular.

John Dewey and Maria Montessori: For the most part, none of the figures that have been discussed provided anything more than a cursory definition that typically contained the views that play was not a serious activity and that it gave pleasure.

It fell to John Dewey to define play on several occasions in the course of his voluminous output. Dewey's attitude to education was scientific in that his views were formed by observation and experimentation.Children and the environment cover a broad, interdisciplinary field of research and practice.

The social sciences often use the word “environment” to mean the social, political, or economic context of children’s lives, but this bibliography covers physical settings.

Major Child Development Theories and Theorists Angela Oswalt, MSW Though many scientists and researchers have approached the study of child development over the last hundred or so years, only a few of the theories that have resulted have stood the test .

Play, while it cannot change the external realities of children’s lives, can be a vehicle for children to explore and enjoy their differences and similarities and to create, even for a brief time, a more just world where everyone is an equal and valued participant. Current Issues in Education.

Sociologists conclude, then, that all of the factors named by the divergent studies do play a role in student success. No matter how different the study results, all researchers agree that a measurable difference exists between the performance of affluent white students and their poorer, non‐white counterparts.

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Theories About Play in Early Childhood Education | How To Adult Early theorists, as well as those of the present day, have been fascinated by the way children play.
Learning and Teaching Structure This book brings together in one volume the latest research and theory regarding the development of children's strategies for a variety of cognitive tasks. Opening with a history of strategy development research and concluding with a chapter that integrates the diversity of ideas expressed by the contributors, Children's Strategies offers intervening chapters that examine strategy development for attention, analogical reasoning, mathematics, memory, reading, and problem solving in infancy.
Play and Education in the Dark and Middle Ages A volume in the series: Contemporary Perspectives in Early Childhood Education.

Child Abuse: The Current Theory Base and Future Research Needs ELI H. NEWBERGER, M.D., CAROLYN MOORE NEWBERGER, ED.D., AND ROBERT L.

HAMPTON, PH.D. Contained in each causal explanation for child abuse is a theory of etiology. Classical Theories of Play 7 Recapitulation Theory Activities that re-enact events from our history as a race are intrinsically more rewarding.

Hunting, shooting, hide-&-seek, chasing, & throwing games are seen.

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