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This report will examine the value of play for young children, it will identify how adults can offer support for early learning through specific approaches and practices

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A Critical Evaluation of the Value of Play This report will examine the value of play for young children, it will identify how adults can offer support for early learning through specific approaches and practices and how theory supports and influences practice in action. As stated by Moyles (2005) it is not easy to distinguish any one meaning which defines play, it is seen more as a process which includes a range of behaviours, motivations, opportunities, practices, skills and understandings and has a role in the physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive development of children. To appreciate and highlight the value of play this report will look at: 1. The role of the adult 2. Approaches and practice sof adult support 3. Child and adult initiated learning The role of the adult The main role of any adult in a setting is to support children?s learning. Although play comes naturally and spontaneously to most children some will still need support and guidance this could be because they lack confidence and do not yet feel comfortable in the setting, they have never experienced some of the toys and activities or because they are at a level where they require an adult to add and extend their learning (DFES 2008). ...read more.


The resources available do not always have to be toys they can be materials such as sticks, clothes or cardboard containers, this helps children develop their imaginary play and creativity (Fisher 2008). Resources and activities should also reflect both languages and cultures of the children (Smidt 2007). Setting up a shop role play area and including different foods familiar to the children?s culture could support this. The adult can also support the play by becoming a customer and modelling the role. Providing activities and resources which involve turn taking and sharing will also contribute to building positive relationships. Ensuring children are given enough time to play will allow them to become fully engrossed, fulfilling their interests and agenda (Sheridan 2002). All these features contribute to making play valuable for a child. It is important that a child feels their play is valued by the adult providing encouragement, praise and knowing support is available when needed. This is supported by Bruner who had the theory of scaffolding. He believed that adults help children take small, supported steps in their learning. When the learning is complete the support of the adult is no longer needed (Smidt 2007). Well planned play helps a child to become confident and emotionally secure in what they do and encourages playing in groups which builds on forming positive relationships. ...read more.


An example of this could be the adult wanting the children to learn about the weather, asking them to create a picture. The adult will provide different materials and resources but it is then up to the child what they do and how they do it. The adult will then be on hand for support and guidance. Adult initiated learning is beneficial because it allows challenges to be set for the child with an intentional learning agenda but is open ended and intended to extend thinking and allow children to apply skills and learning (Lincolnshire County Council 2011). Adult initiated learning is supported by Bruner who did not believe in child initiated learning. Bruner believed games with rules such as songs, rhymes and peekaboo were more beneficial in accelerating learning which has led to adults dominating play (Bruce 2005). Bruce argues that children?s play can be dangerously damaged by adult intervention. She believes adult-led play does not take adequate account of the children?s interests and concerns (Bruce 2005). Conclusion This report highlights that well planned play is valuable for a child to develop emotionally, socially and cognitively. Adults play a vital role in planning for play, but it is not always necessary for them to be actively involved. By planning valuable play the child?s interests and needs are met by a balance of child and adult initiated learning allowing for choice, exploration, independence and relationships to be developed. ...read more.

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