THE USE OF PLAY AS LEARNING strategy FOR SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN early childhood education
THE USE OF PLAY AS LEARNING STRATEGY FOR SKILLS DEVELOPMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION
1.1 Background Of The Study
Play is a spontaneous, voluntary, pleasant, and adaptable activity that involves the use of the body, objects, symbols, and relationships. Play conduct, in contrast to games, is more disorganised and is often done for its own purpose (i.e., the process is more essential than any goals or end points (Broadhead, 2011).
Play is recognised as a universal phenomena and should be included in the lives of all children. Play consumes between 3% and 20% of a young child's time and energy (Isaacs, 2012).
Over the last decade, there has been an ongoing reduction of playtime in favour of educational teaching, particularly in modern and urban communities. However, play is critical to young children's education and should not be abruptly reduced or separated from learning.
Play not only helps children develop pre-literacy skills, problem-solving abilities, and concentration, but it also creates social learning experiences and allows children to vent potential stressors and issues. Laine and Neitola (2004); Lawrence (2012); Erikson (2006).
Play has long been a major aspect of early childhood teaching pedagogy, deeply rooted in the historical roots of early childhood education (Rogers 2011).
Philosophers, theorists, educationalists, and, more recently, policymakers have worked hard over many centuries to describe the nature of infancy, play, and the purposes of education (Fisher 2008).
Researchers have become more interested in how traditional and current ideas on play and childhood have affected childhood conceptualizations (Grieshaber and McArdle 2010), as well as the development of early childhood curriculum (Graue 2008).
According to Wood and Attfield (2005), “childhood was seen as an immature form of adulthood until the nineteenth century, and children from all social classes had little status in society.”
According to Wood and Attfield, it was the studies of classical play theorists such as Rousseau, Froebel, and Dewey that dramatically changed societal views and attitudes towards children, to the extent that “freedom to learn could be combined with appropriate nurturing and guidance” (Platz and Arellano 2011).
According to Almon (2009), creative play is an important activity in the lives of healthy children. Play, according to Almon, helps children weave together all the parts of life as they experience it, and it allows them to assimilate life and make it their own.
According to Hewett (2007), play is an essential aspect of children's development since it allows them to express their entire creative potential. Children blossom and grow when they engage in creative play; when they do not, they suffer a significant decrease. (Almon,2009).
Young toddlers have a natural desire to grow and learn (Henninger, 2005). They are constantly developing new skills and capacities, and if they are allowed to set the pace with a little assistance from the adult world, they will do so in a playful and relentless manner.
Instead of appreciating their intrinsic need to learn, we treat children as though they can only learn what we adults can teach them (Henninger, 2005). As a result of this method, Henninger determined that these youngsters have lost their natural ability to direct their own learning.
Play connects all elements of development and learning, notably the emotive and cognitive domains. When youngsters have time to play, their games become more complicated and cognitively and socially challenging (Fagen, 2007).
Through free play, children learn to: explore materials and discover their properties; use their knowledge of materials to play imaginatively; express their emotions and reveal their inner feelings; come to terms with traumatic experiences;
maintain emotional balance, physical and mental health; develop a sense of who they are, their value, and that of others; deal with conflict; learn to negotiate and solve problems.
Children take out risks in play because they develop their self-esteem and confidence (Fagen, 2007).The youngster directs play, and the incentives originate from within the child. Play is fun and spontaneous. Play helps children gain social, physical, and cognitive skills (Fagen, 2007).
A child's healthy development requires play. According to Herron and Sutton-Smith (2011), 75% of brain development happens after birth. Play promotes brain growth by encouraging the establishment of connections between nerve cells (Herron & Sutton-Smith, 2011).
This approach, according to the experts, aids in the development of fine and gross motor skills. Fine motor abilities are acts such as holding a crayon or pencil. Jumping and running are examples of gross motor skills (Laine & Neitola, 2004).
Children develop knowledge by using play as a tool. They learn to think, recall information, and solve problems. Play allows youngsters to put their beliefs about the world to the test. Play also aids in the development of a child's language and socialisation skills.
It teaches youngsters to articulate their feelings, to think, to be creative, and to solve issues (Erikson, 2006). According to Broadhead (2011), youngsters learn about size, shape, and texture through play. That it teaches kids relationships by requiring them to place a square object in a round hole or a massive object in a small space.
Books, games, and toys with pictures and matching words help children expand their vocabulary. It also contributes to a child's comprehension of the world.
Playing with other children teaches a child how to be a part of a group. Play teaches children the abilities of negotiating, problem solving, sharing, and group work. Unstructured play may result in more physical activity and healthier kids.
It improves children's learning readiness and cognitive growth by allowing them to switch between subjects and areas without fear of failing. Playtime at school, such as playtime, allows students to develop and practise basic social skills.
Children gain a sense of self, learn how to communicate with other children, create friends, and the value of role-playing. Exploratory play in school gives youngsters the opportunity to explore and manipulate their surroundings.
Preschool and kindergarten students, on the other hand, are increasingly finding themselves in school environments that involve scripted teaching, computerised learning, and standardised testing.
Physical education and playtime are being phased out, and new schools are being constructed without playgrounds. While ostensibly providing what Langsted (2004) refers to as quality education,
these approaches trivialise and undermine children's natural capacities for meaningful and focused life lessons through creative play, leaving many children profoundly alienated from their school experiences (Langsted, 2004).
Teachers believe that their teaching pedagogy will assist them in achieving their goals. Early childhood educators hope that their teaching approaches would encourage the children's growth and development.
Parents also want their children's early childhood education to lay the groundwork for their development into a bright, well-adjusted future. According to research, the aforementioned goals can be properly addressed through play.
but, modern early childhood education is often done through intricate instructional outlines, which minimise the importance of play as a tool; but, are these outlines as effective as play? Against this context, this study investigates the use of play as primary learning methods in early infancy.
1.2 statement Of The Problem
One of the challenges of early childhood education is determining the optimal teaching pedagogy. Because of the importance of early infancy in the development of mental functions in children, including language, motor abilities, and psychological skills, the finest teaching methods must be preferred.
However, it is well recognised that the nature of the educational environment to which the kid is exposed throughout the first six to eight years of life has a significant impact on these functions (Bowman, Donovan, & Burns, 2001).
Forget-Dubois et al. (2011) also link excellent Early Childhood Education to increased school preparedness for primary school, which is an important predictor of early school accomplishment.
Thus, this study investigates how the ideal educational environment for children in Early Childhood Education can be established through the use of play as a learning approach.
1.3 Purpose Of The Study
The primary goal of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of play as a learning approach for skill development in Early Childhood Education.
The purpose of this study is to assess the value of play as a learning strategy in preparing children for later childhood and future education. This study's specific goal is to
Examine the impact of play on children's cognitive abilities.
Determine the impact of play on children's social skills.
Assess the impact of play on children's motor abilities.
Determine the effect of play on children's attentiveness.
1.4 Research Questions
Will the use of play as a learning approach for skill development in early infancy have a substantial impact on children's cognitive skills?
Will the use of play as a learning approach for skill development in early life have a major impact on children's social skills?
Will the use of play as a learning approach for skill development in early infancy have a substantial impact on children's motor skills?
Will the use of play as a learning approach for skill development in early infancy have a major impact on children's attentiveness?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The use of play as a learning approach for skill development in early infancy has no substantial impact on children's cognitive capacities.
The use of play as a learning approach for skill development in early infancy has no substantial impact on children's social abilities.
The use of play as a learning approach for skill development in early infancy has no substantial impact on children's motor skills.
The use of play as a learning approach for skill development in early infancy has no substantial effect on children's attentiveness.
1.6 Importance of the research
This study will be useful for educational planners in early childhood education. It will expose literature on the use of play as the primary learning instrument for children, providing these planners with a larger empirical platform on which to base their teaching paradigms.
This study will also be valuable to curriculum planners because it adds to their knowledge of what to include, what to exclude, what works and what does not work.
Last but not least, this study provides information to both parents and teachers about how play can help children's physical, emotional, and psychosocial development and prepare them for the future.
1.7 Scope/ Limitations Of TheResearch
The focus of this study is limited to examining the assignment of play as primary learning instruments in Early Childhood, utilising the descriptive survey research method and addressing the variables of cognitive skills, social skills, motor skills, and attentiveness of children. This study focuses on Lagos Mainland Local Government.
1.8 Definition Of Operational Terminology
Play: A learning approach characterised by spontaneous, voluntary, pleasant, and adaptable activities including the use of the body, objects, symbols, and relationships.
The educational design used for learning is referred to as a learning tool.
Early Childhood: The period from birth to three years old, when the brain grows rapidly.
Cognitive Skills: Brain-based abilities required of a youngster to do tasks involving learning, remembering, and problem solving.
Social Skills: These are abilities that a youngster must have in order to interact and communicate with people.
Motor Skills: These are abilities that require the use of one's muscles. They involve leg, arm, foot, or complete body movements.
Attentiveness is defined as the ability to pay attention.
The physical conditions, context, and ideological milieu in which students learn are referred to as the learning environment.