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PLAY LEADERSHIP IN AMERICAN AND EUROPEAN PLAYGROUNDS • a) b) HISTORY OF PLAY LEARDERSHIP IN AMERICA History of American play leadership is Erratic Spread across various play context (urban parks, public and private child development centers, and both rural and urban neighborhoods. • Adults responsible for play leadership across these context hold different view and importance of play, play environment and appropriate roles and training of play leaders • Views also differ across countries. Play Leadership in Public Parks • Play leaders came into to the picture due to belief that in absence of them, playground would foster idleness, immortality and vandalism (Lee. 1972) • Playground Association of America (PAA) developed guidelines for training playleaders, which focused on physical education and recreation. Included courses like sociology, social psychology, biology, industrial arts, and civic relationships. • Important role of play leader gradually got deemphasized by 1920s and 1930s. But now the early ideals of training play leaders has not regained an important role in American public park playground. Play Leadership in Preschools • Role of adults in children’s play in preschool settings were founded on the views of Friedrich Froebel and the early child development research centers. • Froebel (1887) viewed play as important for developing the mind , body, and character. • Early leaders in the nursery-kindergarten movement promoted adult’s role in shaping the development of children during play. • Till today there is no training of elementary school teachers regarding the supervision of playground play. Play Leadership in Public and Private Elementary Schools • The views and practices of elementary school professional concerning the roles of adults in children’s play parallel those of public park professionals. • Though literature on adult’s role in elementary school is limited, But Evans’s ( 1990) studies in American school are the most insightful for understanding the roles assumed by teachers on playground during recess. • Research reveals that 1)Adult roles on children’s playground are varied and complex. 2)Roles should include ensuring that children have rich, challenging, ever changing environments for play 3)Good playground breed good behavior. 4)Rules are needed THEROTICAL BASES FOR ADULT INTERVENTION IN CHILDREN’S PLAY • Piaget and Vygotsky seemed to realize that play had emotional and therapeutic components. • Work of Anna Freud, Carl Rogers, and Virginia Axline was more significant for assisting children in dealing with serious problems of neglect , abuse , conflict and trauma. • Plato suggested that children earlier on must take part in lawful forms of play. • Jean- Jacques Rousseau emphasized the value of play and the vast differences in the interest and values of adults and children. • Froble, established the first kindergarten (literally garden of children) in Germany. In these kindergarten, work or learning activities were infused with pleasure of play. • John Dewey acknowledge Frobel’s contribution but suggested that symbolism not essential. His approaches included cooperative planning Outlined conditions for balancing formal instruction with life experiences Provide the context- rich blend of classrooms, playground. Ensure opportunity for interaction- the social context. Encourage cooperative planning and acting to develop a spirit of companionship and shared activity. There is carry-over of social concern and understanding into broader community outside the school. Keep proper balance between the informal and the formal, the abstract and the practical. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) • In early 1900s, psychoanalysis was integrated into play therapy for children and two schools of thought developed, advocating a particular form and frequency of intervention. 1) Directive school: Emphasized directed play. Prescribed materials Interpreted play to determine the source and natures of phobias and conflicts. 2) Nondirective school: Confirmed, repeated and clarifies the child’s play acts emphasized the importance of non intervention by adults into children’s play. Play identifies as the critical factor in fostering the child’s social and intellectual development. • Piaget and Constructivism • Vygotsky and Social Constructivism Viewed that children do not merely construct their knowledge but performance can be assisted by others. Make believe play is a social activity- a product of social collaboration. Vygostsky identified a “ zone of proximal development” (ZPD) It is defined as a range of tasks between those the child can handle independently and those which at the highest level can be handled with the help of adults or more competent peers. Vygotsky and Social Construction • Vygotsky differed with Piaget in the following areas: – According to Vygotsky, rules are important to play (the absence of rules is impossible). Piaget maintained that rules emerged after preschool. – According to Vygotsky, make-believe play is a social activity—a product of social collaboration. Piaget purported that make-believe play emerges spontaneously with the onset of representational thought and cognitive construction which occurs through manipulation of objects. – Vygotsky. Zone of PD and scaffolding were essential considerations of coconstructivism. Piaget. Children interact with objects and develop their own understanding of the world. He pointed out that adults and more competent peers could effectively “scaffold” intervention to match the child’s independent level, but not beyond his potential level. • Chaos Theory Stems from the paradox that postmodern families and institutions are experiencing a transformation from traditional predictable structures to ever more complex and interdependent ones. Theory holds that social systems are nonlinear, interdependent, and unpredictable. The reality of the world is essentially chaotic. Parents and teachers most directly responsible for helping children adapt to chaos cling to outmoded, antiquated views about teaching, parenting, and the role of play as a legitimate educational enterprise. Vander Ven (1998) proposed a chaotically oriented approach to education that incorporates play at every developmental level. 1. Her views are based on two principles. Play is a complex adaptive system that embrace and generates other complex adaptive systems. Play is essential for young children to experience pervasive chaos and to identify themselves as novelty, surprise, loss of control, and disequilibrium. 2. Winsler’s (1995) interpretation of Vygotsky, contends that adult facilitation of play is essential for children’s development and for adaptation to a chaotic world Winsler proposed a number of chaos theory concept of play facilitation 1. Determinism 2. Weak chaos 3. Birufication 4. Attractor Vander Ven proposed that supersymmetry, a concept embracing both symmetry and chaos. Games, play , and highly skilled adults can help children to adapt to change and meet the complex challenges of a chaotic world. RESEARCH BASES FOR ADULTS INTERVENTION IN CHILDREN’S PLAY • Number of researches since 1960 have studies the effect of intervention, commonly referred to as play tutoring or training, on children’s play. • 1. According to studies adult participated in children’s play Discussing topics that might be used in play 2. Encouraging use of nonstructured materials. 3. Encouraging children to invite other to join their play. 4. Helping elaborates themes 5. Making imaginative uses of play materials\ 6. Encouraging invention. 7. Helping create pretend episodes. 8. Taking children on trips 9. Encouraging reenactment in dramatic play. • Positive results of play intervention for young children include 1. Enhanced imaginative play. 2. Improvement in cognitive tasks impulse control, verbal intelligence story interpretation spontaneous engagement in sociodramatic play Creativity group activity attention span, Cognitive ability Perspective taking Verbal comprehension Reduced aggression Social adjustment Language development Attachment to adults and peer interaction • Failure to control experiments for effects of peer interaction and adult tutoring are seen as methodological weaknesses in the research PRACTICING PLAY LEADERSHIP • Different approaches regarding the nature, type, and timing of intervention into children’s play are as following 1. Providing natural and designed spaces for play. 2. Scheduling extensive time for play. 3. Providing a challenging mix of natural and manufactured play materials and equipments. 4. Individualizing play intervention through observation and study of children 5. Deciding what strategies to use during personal interaction with children Pacific Oaks College Perspective on Practice • The program was developed over many years at Pacific Oaks College • Its theoretical base resides in both cognitive and interactions theory, especially Piaget’s constructivism. • Emphasize the importance of language, construction materials, and bodies in action during both fantasy and reality play themes. • Stresses the cognitive challenge that play offer children • Identify intervention strategies for teachers to assume during children’s play. • The teacher pays attention to play. • Teacher takes steps in as guide and assume the roles of stage manager, mediator, player, scribe, assessor and communicator , and planner. • 1. 2. 3. Vygotskian Perspective on Practice Adult’s Indirect influences on children’s play Preparing the environment Choosing toys and materials Encouraging children to play together • 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Adult’s Direct Influence on children’s play. Providing experiences that can become play themes Model how to play with toys Taking turns Settling disputes Describing sequences • Adult intervention should change and decline as children mature. • Adults help infants establish attachment and provide for interaction with other people, toys, books and object. • Toddlers are helped to use language to describe action, interact with peers, to see roles, implicit rules and imaginary situation. • Preschooler are assisted by offering props for laying, organizing activities, planning with children, expanding pretending and role taking, and providing for scaffolding by older children and adults. • Adult domination is avoided in elementary school and interaction with slightly older peers is encouraged, and selfregulation is promoted. Adventure Play and Play Leadership in Europe • C.T Sorenson ,a Danish landscape architect developed in Denmark, the first of many junk playgrounds, later named building playgrounds or adventure playgrounds. • Play work or play leadership is a nationally recognized national profession in some countries, and training programs range from on the job to university programs. • The basic philosophical intent adopted informally but widely throughout European adventure playgrounds, is rejected in America playground contexts, where the practices of adult are basically laissez-faire or didactic. • 1. 2. 3. 4. Adventure play leaders perform many roles: Nurture play in an unrestrictive settings. Act as referees when a situation is getting out of hand. Maintain friends but are friends to the children. Ensure that the playground is well staffed, equipped, and safe. 5. Attract voluntary worker to the playground and involves families 6. Scrounge for tools and materials needed by the children. 7. Make suggestions but do not demand. 8. Don’t interfere in play but teach interesting skills if asked 9. Accept wide range of ages and individual differences 10. Support the work and play of children with minimum interference. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS • Appropriate roles of adults on playgrounds 1. The play leader studies children to understand whether intervention into their play is needed. 2. The play leader ensures that children have access to challenging playscapes that integrate multiple levels of complexity, using both natural and built materials. 3. The play leaders prepares the child for risks, challenges, and hazards. 4. Play leaders prepare children for play. 5. The play leader focuses on creative aspects of play. 6. The lay leader extends the child’s world 7. Play leaders help children cope in an increasingly chaotic world. 8. Play leaders step aside and let children play.