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Friedrich Froebel's Ideas On the Role of Play In the Early Years Education

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Introduction

TURGENEVA LIANA BA QTS (ASEY) Year 1 ASEYS 2001/2002 - Semester One Assessment 3 (9th November 2001) FRIEDRICH FROEBEL'S IDEAS ON THE ROLE OF PLAY IN THE EARLY YEARS EDUCATION Play is probably the very first thing that comes to our minds when we start thinking about our childhood. Certainly it's hard to talk about early years without referring to play, as it is a part of children's natural behaviour, embedded in their spontaneous day-to-day life. The fact that the play is enjoyable is generally agreed, but the value of play in school, however, has been in the centre of much debate in the past (and it seems like that debate is still going on today). The roots of contemporary understanding of the role of play in early childhood education extend clearly to Friedrich Froebel, a German educator, who organized and systematized the methods of early childhood in accordance with the idea of "the spontaneous, self-sustaining nature of children" (E. Evans, 1971, p.43). Froebel believed that every child had within him all he was to be at birth, and that the proper educational environment was to encourage the child to grow and develop in the most favourable manner. ...read more.

Middle

Games were not just idle time wasting, but the most important steps in the child's development, and they were to be watched by teachers as clues to how the child is developing. "It is through play that the child learns the use of his limbs, of all his bodily organs, and with this use gains health and strength. Through play he comes to know the external world, the physical qualities of the objects which surround him, their motions, action, and reaction upon each other, and the relation of these phenomena to himself, ? a knowledge that forms the basis of that which will be his permanent stock for life." (H.Bowen, 1907, p.101) However, Froebel didn't think that the play of young children should be unprompted at all times. For him the skill of adults was in knowing how and when to intervene, how to support and extend children's play to help them "to grasp and to try out their learning in concrete ways." (T.Bruce, 1997, p.23) To stimulate learning through well-directed play Froebel designed a series of instructional materials, which he called "gifts" and "occupations". ...read more.

Conclusion

Literacy and numeracy hours in our schools seem to be completely segregated from play and art activities. The implication is that play is not serious, play is something supplementary. In this situation Froebel's idea of play as a tool of education challenges us to examine the current methods and trends in teaching young children. If the shape of the children's day at school could have been set not by government officials, but by the teachers and art assistants, (and maybe by the children themselves), that would probably help us to bring the joy of play back to the classroom. "Instead of concentrating on pre-specified learning objectives and then spending a great deal of effort in "motivating" children to want to attain these specified objectives, we ought to look more carefully at the conditions in which the children achieve their impressive learning success." (G. Blenkin, A.Kelly, 1988, p. 67) Blenkin, G., Kelly, A. (1988) Early Childhood Education. A Developmental Curriculum. London, Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd. Play exists for itself and needs no other explanation. But if we make it constructive, purposeful and balanced with a careful guidance it might let "a ray of sunshine fall on our children from the kind soul of Froebel." (www. geocities. ...read more.

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