How Children Learn and Play

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MARIA BENNETT

How do children learn through play? How does the teacher intervention supports or limits learning through play?

Word Count: 1500

Children learn in different ways and therefore how information is presented to them is crucial if we want them to be successful learners. Children were able to choose which activity table they were going to work at according to their interests and move around freely. The child I observed chose one day to work at the maths table, where she did hands-on learning in maths with beads, perfect for her as a kinaesthetic learner. Another day she chose to work at the science table where the children were provided with the opportunity to explore and use magnets. No teacher was present at the table, the children were left to find out how magnets work for themselves, which links with Piaget’s theory and his belief that the child’s own actions on the world are crucial for his development (Piaget 1967). On the other hand there were other children around the table, each exploring the work of magnets and each learning from the actions of the others, which in turn links to Vygotsky’s theory which stresses the role of social interaction as the “facilitator” for cognitive development ( Vygotsky, 1988). In this case Piaget would argue that as the child is in pre-operational stage she would not be ready for the acquisition of thought necessary to understand the workings of magnetism, while Vygotsky would argue that the knowledge is acquired through development in interactions between the child and the others as an interpersonal process before it appears within the child as an intrapersonal process (Vygotsky 1988, Miller 1989)

The role and approach of the teacher is crucial to the development of children’s learning. Accommodating for individual learning styles, leaving scope for personal exploration and providing guidance and support are all equally important in the classroom.

REFERENCES:

Miller,P.H. (1989;2nd edition)...
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