Play Work and Play Therapy

Play Work and Play Therapy

Michael Yamoah
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2503-6.ch011
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The discourse of children's play is conceptualised differently among cultural contexts. This chapter aims at examining the current trends in how play work and play therapy are perceived by scholars in the international community. It will highlight the theoretical conceptual framework, evidence and pedagogical practices, as well as the cultural importance that inform the choice of play work in early childhood education that pertains to developmentally appropriate practices. Play work and play therapy have seen a lot of research; however, the author will readdress the perceived challenges that persist and still confront the minds of many practitioners about children's play and the curriculum framework. While some authors see play work and its therapeutic nature as a positive way of contributing to children's learning and development, thereby promoting life-long learning, others see it a way of wasting precious time. In conclusion, it is stated that play work and play therapy cannot be overlooked due to their numerous related benefits.
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Education is the key that opens lot opportunities of individuals and even countries. Producing future leaders’ stern from the fact that children are to be educated with the appropriate dimensions. Globally, early years education is accelerating in terms of technological advancement, quality teaching and play base pedagogy. The discourse of early years education is to enhance teaching and learning as enshrined by Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4). In 2015, Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include 17 goals. Of these, Goal 4 for educational development calls on States to “ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.” SDG Target 4.2 states, “By 2030 ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and pre-primary education so that they are ready for primary education” (Vargas-Barón, Small, Wertlieb, Hix-Small, Gómez Botero, Diehl, Vergara, & Lynch, 2019, p. 22). Children are expected to be equipped with skills, attitude and competence that lead to life–long learning to reduce poverty as advocated by the Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG 1). Education in the early years should help learners to acquire basic cognitive, knowledge and skills that are required for ideological formations. Research has shown that play and work lay an importance foundation for children’s academic work (Abbas, Othman, & Rahman 2012; Colliver, 2011; Cutter-Mackenzie et al., 2014). The concept of play is seen as a tool that helps children to acquire skills for cultural survival (Wohlwend, 2017). Similarly, play is known to be the catalyst by which children learn and development during their formative stages.

Play and work are seen as a fundamental component in children’s educational settings. The work engaged in by children is perceived as play that connotes the working partners. Children’s play and work provides lot of avenue for self- learning that embraces social interaction and cognitive development (Turuk, 2008). Edwards & Cutter-Mackenzie (2011) talk about the three-play type: (1) open-ended play (experience and exploration); (2) modelled play (where children are given the opportunity for illustration, explanation and demonstration); and (3) purposefully framed play (it has to do with discussion, open-ended questions, observations, resources, connection to existing knowledge). They further stated that all the above offer children equal value of pedagogical learning experiences.

Play-based pedagogy is a discourse the harmonised and balanced the teaching and learning and of all children. Essentially, while some consider play pedagogy considered as trivial and as a wastage of children’s time, many also are of the few that it helps in children’s holistic development. According to Van Oers, (2013), play-based pedagogies have been recommended by many researchers in early childhood education. These recommendations have been embraced and believed by practitioners and teachers in ECE. This sis regarded as an effective and influential in development and learning of all children. Early childhood programmes have changed and conceptualised differently and differ from country to country. Since the concept of early years education embraces the multi-care dimension such as family care, day-care centre, private and public homes, teachers, practitioners and caregiver are to imbibe the hegemony of play. This is due to cultural, linguistic, other essential welfare services, values and other emphasis based on the country’s belief. Also, in most countries children start pre-school earlier based on certain laws and principles. Therefore, ECE curriculum should be the type that informs whole-child learning with relevant and appropriate teaching methods (Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development, 2001).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Development: A process that brings about positive change in a person’s life.

Curriculum: A structured framework that contains the various ways children are to be taught and assessed.

Culture: A way in which a group of people live in a particular community.

Pedagogy: The prescribe process, method and practice of teaching in any level of education.

Therapy: A psychological form of treatment tailored to bring about positive behavioural changes in a person’s life.

Play: A child-centred activities that is fun and a way of learning by a child.

Teaching: The act or process of helping a learner to acquire information (knowledge and skills).

Childhood: The period or stage of being a child.

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