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ERIC Number: EJ839475
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 9
ISSN: ISSN-0164-8527
Looking into Children's Play Communities
Mabry, Mark; Fucigna, Carolee
Exchange: The Early Childhood Leaders' Magazine Since 1978, n186 p49-52 Mar-Apr 2009
Play, particularly children's sociodramatic play, is the cornerstone of early childhood classrooms in the United States. Early childhood educators learn and expound mantras of "the value of play," "play-based programs," "children learning through play," and "play as child's work." They strive to promote the importance of making a place for play in programs for young children, and to educate parents and broader communities about the benefits that children derive from engaging in play with one another. Children's social play is one of the most important venues for learning in the early childhood classroom. Through play with others, children develop self-direction and self-control, an understanding of symbolic representation, fluency in communication and cooperation, problem-solving strategies, and an understanding of cultural rules and social behavior. While this play is easily identifiable, understanding its meaning, especially from the children's points of view, requires careful observation and analysis. Trying to uncover meanings from their perspective has the potential to yield insight into an aspect of classroom life that may not be apparent to teachers--the children's play community. In their play community, children build a shared repertoire of actions, scripts, and meanings. This social construction of shared rules, roles, players, and events evolves in a particular classroom during a particular school year. In order to successfully understand the nuances and meanings children are establishing together in their dramatic play communities, the authors suggest that early childhood educators dedicate themselves to careful observation of the play over an extended period of time in order to understand the culture negotiated by the players. The authors stress that focusing on the play community when observing classroom life affords unique insights about the children and their classroom play culture, distinct from the community they share with adults.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A