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Young Children's Symbolic Behaviour: theories of representation.

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CHILD STUDY/ESSAY Introduction This assignment is about Young Children's Symbolic Behaviour: theories of representation. It consists of an observational study carried out on one particular child's development in various areas of provision which supports mode of representation. I am however aware of the other forms of representational modes in the setting. The summarised observations will be based on the weekly tasks which are clearly labelled in the appendix session. Before I move on to the main part of the essay, I will give a brief biography and reasons for choosing this particular child. I will move on to discuss different theorist research about representation and the implications of early childhood practices. I will then make references in connection to the findings of the observations through the various forms of the child's representations. Photographs and samples of the child's form of representation will be included. I will demonstrate the role of the adult in this area throughout. This assignment will be concluded by demonstrating why it is important for all children regardless of who they are, to have the opportunities in representing themselves through various forms and media. Symbolic Representation is whereby children represent their world and play in different and various ways such as language, feelings thoughts and understanding. According to Gardner (1983p304), "during childhood children acquire certain basic understanding of symbolic activities and systems" and which "during school age, having achieved some basic competence in symbolization the child goes on to acquire higher level of skills in certain culturally valued domains". ...read more.


It is through language that the child is able to explain and talk about their actions. The child can also see "that there is a relationship between these visual structures and structures in the real world. It is the 'double knowledge' which makes representation possible". (Furth 1969) In Matthews (1994 p28). This summarised observation above is linked to the next observation I am about to discuss. Observation 5p(22-24) reveals the organisation and diversity of resources and provision in supporting target child's autonomy and choice of representational media. This again shows a variety of representations and actions. It consists of first generation modes, push and pull effects, closure, numbers, names and other objects. Target child represented her friends by writing their names as well as producing human figures. She was able to represent herself, due to the diversity of resources provided by the adults in the setting. This enabled her and all her peers to make choices, encouraged independence as well as an exploration of the effect of these cultural references. These cultural references are papers, pencils, crayons, computers, songs, etc. This agrees with Matthews (2003 pg 23) notion that "the child does not encounter visual media on his or her own, but within a social ad cultural context". Her choice of "media use are constructed physically and conceptually." Matthews (2003p23). Children are affected by the culture of the settings they attend. They are therefore shaped and influenced by this culture. ...read more.


I therefore conclude this essay by saying that it is important for children to represent themselves symbolically in different ways and forms as this helps them to make sense of their play and world in which they live in. The adults' support is essential and crucial in this area of development. The resources, materials and opportunities created by the adults help children in representing themselves. The social context in which symbolic representation takes place is also important. This involves language, culture and media. Parental involvement in this area of learning is vital. It helps parents to understand that learning takes place in different forms and aspects. Observations on children's play and learning are the only way that the adult will know the developmental stage that the child has reached. BIBLIOGRAGHY Gardner, H. (1983) Frames of Mind, Fontana Press. UK. Athey, C. (1990) Extending Thought in Young Children Paul Chapman. Bruce, T. (1987) Early childhood Education Hodder & Stoughton. Matthews, J. (2003) The Art of Childhood and Adolescence, Routledge, Falmer, London. Matthews, J. (2003) Drawing and Painting Children and Visual Representation. Second edition, Paul Chapman. Matthews, J. (1994) Helping Children to Draw & Paint in Early Childhood (Children and Visual Representation). Hodder and Stoughton. Moyles, J.R. (1994) The Excellence of Play, Open University Press, Buckingham. Smidt, S. (1998) The Early Years a reader. Routledge. Jenkins, S. (2001) The Genius of Play, London, Howthorn Press. QCA (2001) Curriculum Guidance for the Foundation Stage. QCA Publication. Whitebread, D. (1996) Teaching and Learning in the early years. Routledge, Falmer. ...read more.

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