Understand Children and Young Peoples Self Directed Play

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Freely chosen, self directed play.
Refer back to assignment 1.

The play cycle

A play cycle begins in the pre conscious thoughts of the child, it is at the point of daydream where the playful impulse is created and given out as the play cue. Once this cue is taken up by a responding partner the play cycle begins. The metalude signals the start of the play process and while it supports a single play thought in the Childs consciousness it can change in seconds to become another playful thoughts or an extended version of its original self. The play cue can be given out in many ways, facial expressions, eyes contact, body language or simply through using materials I.e. a ball or a colouring pencil.

Looking back through my reflective diary I noticed a very clear cue I had received, it was very clear and understandable a child simply kicked a ball in my direction and gave me clear eye contact so naturally I kicked it back in seconds we were a having a football match and within minutes other children were coming over to join so I stepped back and facilitated.

The play cue is followed by the play return example; kicking the ball back. which can come from another person, the environment or from the child playing. Then comes the Play frame, the process or space that is created by cues and returns. It's a boundary that keeps the play intact. It begins with the child's play drive and includes all that allows play to continue. It may be as big as a football pitch or as small as a chessboard and the two people playing. As a play worker you can be inside or outside of the frame depending on the level of the play workers involvement. Play Cycle, the full flow of play from the first play cue to the return and the further development of play- with more cues and returns until the play is complete. Play Annihilation: The end of the play frame. Children take what they want from the activity and then it is finished. A play worker can cause play annihilation if they intervene inappropriately in children's play. In my setting when it is tea time we have 5 minutes which means they finish what they are doing and then wash hands ready for tea, this way play annihilation is not done by the play worker and children can finish play how they want to.

Play space

A child’s play space is any area that supports and enriches the potential for children and young people in self directed play. Children and young people should have a variety of play spaces which stimulate them in different ways e.g.: an outdoor play space for physical stimulation and to encourage a healthy active lifestyle, story corner for cognitive stimulation, it has been proven that stories and rhymes help to improve memory and concentration skills. Books and rhymes also help to develop children’s imaginations, but more importantly stories can help children understand and discuss their own feelings which could otherwise be left unheard.

All play spaces should be welcoming and varied with different resources, with sufficient quantities so that children and young people do not have to wait to participate and have opportunities for social interaction with both children and play workers . My setting has a variety of play spaces associable to all children and young people for all different needs. All children have the choice to help us to create new play new spaces of to freely choose there own play space which they will do naturally. All resources are accessible for all children and young people which enables all children play to continue un interrupted giving them freedom of more choice and to explore there own chosen activities in there own way and time.

Loose parts

The theory of loose parts over the last 40 years become increasingly known and used by play workers and play space designers. It was first suggested in 1971 by an architect called Simon Nicholson. He believed that loose parts in our environment empowered our creativity. According to the Oxfordshire...
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