Play Area Critique

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Critique of a Play Area

Dress up Area

The area of the pre-school room that I have chosen to critically evaluate is the dress up area. Our pre-school consists of 20 children aged 3-4 years old spread over two sessions, and comprises both boys and girls. In our pre-school we have two polish children, one boy and one girl, who speak both English and Polish, one Chinese girl and one Zimbabwean boy. The rest of the children are Irish.

Our pre-school room is one large room in a general childcare facility, located at the rear of the building adjacent to the after-school room, and opens out onto the outdoor play area. The development of a learning environment which supports children‘s learning, socialization, interests and needs, is one of the foundation stones to quality early years curriculum and service. According to Aistear, taking time to develop a good indoor and outdoor learning environment will assist in the development of your curriculum and provide a welcoming and supportive learning atmosphere for the children. There are two roles for the adult in preparing this environment: organising it and resourcing it. In a pre-school room the space should be divided into interest areas i.e. child-sized areas rather than in a single large group space. The supervisor should create well-defined areas of interest that encourage a variety of types of play and helps children see and experience the choices on offer. As you enter our room, the room the sinks and wash up area are to the left, as are the toilets. To the right is the table top area and arts & crafts corner. To the rear of the room, the book and reading corner is on the left hand side adjacent to the construction area, the dress up stand is along the back wall, and the home corner is a separate area on the right hand side. Our building is relatively new and the room is bright and airy, with most of the toys and equipment in a good state of repair. There is no obviously old or shabby area that needs attention.

Primary Research

In deciding which area of the room needed improvement, I needed to conduct some primary research. The areas of assessment and planning have become increasingly important in childcare. In order to support children’s learning and development, providers must support each individual child by providing appropriate opportunities, experiences, activities, interactions and materials within the daily service. Therefore, I decided to carry out an observation on the children playing, and an informal interview with the children. Observation and assessment processes can be used to identify the effectiveness of the setting, specific areas of the setting, specific activities and the practitioner. Through observing the children and/or the learning environment we can revise plans and, perhaps, changes to the environment, to improve provision. In carrying out my research I:

• observed the children when they were playing using a trail record observation sheet to determine the most and least popular areas of interest. • observed how the space and organisation of the environment was supporting or hindering play • interpreted what I saw and heard in the play

• used the assessment information gathered in planning for improving the play areas. The children were invited to participate and give their opinions on the room during the informal interview with the group. Indeed consulting with the children in relation to the development of the space and materials can be empowering for the children and give them a sense of ownership.

The results of my research indicated to me that the book area and dress up areas were the least utilised areas of the room during free play time. The book area didn’t overly concern me, as we incorporate reading and storytelling into our curriculum during the day, but I was concerned to see the lack of interest in the dress up area.

Home Corner/ Dress Up Area

The dress up area should be a very active area in the...
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