This assignment is based on an investigation I carried at my setting on the play and learning experiences provided for four year olds. My key question on which I based my investigation was: How I could make children’s play and learning experiences fun and enjoyable?
The United Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC) says that ‘Every child and young person has the right to rest, play and leisure’. (UNCRC, Article 31, 1989)
Play can be interpreted in various ways however in the context of a setting; I understand play as an experience in which children have fun, enjoy and learn at the same time. Being the manager and room leader I have a major influence on the learning experiences provided for the children. I therefore decided to investigate the impact of my current planning and provision on children’s play experiences. In my observations I looked at children’s ‘disposition’ to the play experiences I had provided (Katz, 1993) cited in E100. I used the Leaven Involvement Scale for Young Children (Leavers, 1994) which highlights signals that help measure how involved a child is in the activity. A child would be involved and engaged with an activity if it was enjoyable and stimulating.
In my discussion I analyse my practice based on the investigation and then discuss my changing values and beliefs and the impact it has had on my practice in relation to promoting children’s play, learning and development.
Analysing my practice:
In my setting I was finding it difficult to balance between focused and free play activities for four year olds in order to meet the ‘early learning goals’ set out by the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS, 2008), therefore I decided to investigate this area of my practice.
I carried out ‘tracking observations’ (Block 3, pg: 52) on three children aged four, two boys and a girl, as there are more boys than girls at my setting. I observed each child using the suggestions made by Devereux J, Observing children (Reader 2, chapter 8) over a period of three days. I was a ‘complete observer’ during the first day of my observations so that maximum information could be attained. I was a ‘participant observer’ on the second and third day (Block 3, pg: 46). I wrote field notes during the observations, then added detail later using recommendations by Lofland and Lofland (1995) (Block 3, pg: 52).
The emerging pattern in my observations on Day 1 was that all three children enjoyed undirected play, and were more involved in the experiences when it was self chosen. However on Day 2 and 3 they were equally involved in adult-led play experiences, when they were planned based on their interests seen on Day 1 and at the edge of their capabilities, ‘zone of proximal development’ (Vygotsky, 1962) (Block 3,...