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The role of the adult in children's play.

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The role of the adult in children's play. The purpose of this essay is to identify roles adults can take within children's play and how these roles support the children and influence learning. Children come from diverse backgrounds and bring to early years settings their own previous learning experiences and interests. Adults within settings have a responsibility to provide support to these children, encourage participation in a wide variety of meaningful experiences and build reciprocal relationships through meaningful interactions. This combination gives children the opportunity to gain confidence in their own abilities and become increasingly more independent in their learning and communication, a concept relating to the Ministry of Education's (1993) New Zealand Curriculum Framework Principle of encouraging students to become independent and life-long learners. For adults to extend on children's learning and development and promote self-esteem, effective adult-child interactions are required. Research work carried out by Tizard and Hughes (1984, cited by Coltman & Whitebread, 1996, p.23), suggest a strong relationship between self-esteem and school achievement. In creating early years settings, which foster adult-child interactions, support can be given by adults, in ways, sensitive to the children's individual needs and capacities so that self-esteem is developed, which in turn benefits future learning. Docket & Fleer (1999) suggest three roles adults can undertake to support children in their play, these being, 'Manager', 'Facilitator' and 'Player'. 'Managers provide indirect support by planning suitable play spaces, time for play and meaningful resources and materials for the children to interact with. ...read more.


Fisher (1996) expresses a view that children learn by using language; suggesting that as children experiment and practice language skills they are able to use language for a range of purposes. By mediating amongst the children in a non-threatening manner adults are able to encourage the children to express their views and thoughts, valuing their opinions and respecting them as individuals and in doing so children begin to understand the concept of 'give and take' in communication and learning, as outlined in the Ministry of Education's (1996) Te Whariki Principle of 'Relationships'. Through adult-child interactions children gain confidence in their abilities to express themselves, benefiting future learning as they ask questions, confirm understanding and express opinions in effective ways. By playing alongside children, in a similar way (termed parallel play), adults can closely observe the children and determine developmental stages and find out what thing are currently of interest to the children. Adults can then find suitable, meaningful ways to extend and complicate current levels of understanding with the aim of enhancing learning. This form of interaction takes consideration to Vygotsky theory of the zone of proximal development (ZPD), whereby interactions with peers and adults form a basis for construction of new knowledge and understanding (Dockett & Fleer 1996). As a child tips water into different size containers they discover concepts relating to maths and science. An adult can extend on this further by parallel playing and talking about the discoveries, developing communication skills and introduce new ideas. ...read more.


Adult-child interactions enable adults to support the children, build positive reciprocal relationships, extend on learning and model desired behaviours. It is therefore important that adults create an environment, which fosters these interactions. Adults support the children indirectly by setting up the environment in ways, which promote play and adult-child interactions and direct support given when interacting with the children through mediation and playing with and alongside the children. The ways in which the adults adopt these roles will directly determine the extent of the learning outcomes. Reference List Coltman, P., & Whitebread, D. (1996). My mum would pay anything for chocolate cake. Organising the whole curriculum: Enterprise projects in the early years. In D. Whitebread, (ed). Teaching and learning in the early years. London: Routledge. Cullen, J. (1998). What do teachers need to know about learning in the early years? Key note address to Early Childhood Development Unit seminar, "Promoting Positive Partnerships", Auckland, 23 April. Dau, E. (Ed.). (1999). Child's play. Revisiting play in early childhood settings. Australia: Australian Early Childhood Association. Dockett, S., & Fleer, M. (1999). Play and pedagogy in early childhood: Bending the rules. Marrickville, NSW: Harcourt Brace & Company. Fisher, J. (1996). Starting from the child. Buckingham: Open University Press. (Chapter 1). Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Whariki. He whariki matauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aoteroa. Early Childhood Curriculum. Wellington: Learning Media. Ministry of Education. (1993). The New Zealand curriculum framework. Te anga marautanga o Aotearoa. Wellington: Learning Media. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 5 of 7 - Assignment 2 Nicola Hammond - 02234823 ...read more.

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