Ε.Κ. Τα Πάντα για το Παιδί ©

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Teachers are often asked to justify to parents hours of game play in the programs of the school since most people do not interpret play as something constructive towards child development.
But educators, systematically, by observing children playing, can say for sure that it has many positive effects on child development. 

Why is play so important?  

Through play children learn social interaction, expression and communication, thus structuring and building a better understanding of the image for themselves, others and the world.
Its role is essential to cognitive development and learning, since it offers to the child stimulation for observation, experimentation, exploration, prediction, planning, explanation, speculation, production questions, listening, meeting targets and problem solving.
Moreover, through playing, children perceive their bodies, boundaries and potentials, and in addition develop physical skills  (Sivropoulou, 1998).

Keys to the high quality of the game:  

The main elements that characterize high quality playing is a) time, b) the place and c) materials (Driscoll, & Nagel, 2002).
Young children need some time (about 30-50 minutes) to develop various kinds of game playing structures. When time is not enough, kids fiddle with very simple forms of the game. They also need 20-30 m space to play comfortably and efficiently.
As for materials, they should be specifically selected to encourage developmental play.

Spontaneous play:  

A spontaneous playing is an ideal activity for assessing the cognitive, social, emotional, language and motor development of young children (Vygotsky, 1967; Winnicott, 1971; Bruner, 1972; Sayeed, & Guerin, 2000; Losardo & Notari-Syverson, 2001), and almost all children are involved in this. 

According to Wood & Attfield (in Ntoliopoulou, Gourgioti, 2008) an assessment based game helps teachers:

  • Obtain clear views on the importance of play as an essential part of the program
  • recognize the basic relationship between learning and play
  • to accept the things that emerge through play as part of the program
  • understand how children react in spontaneous activities
  • choose activities according to their abilities and interests of children 
  • understand the importance of teacher-child interaction in the game

Spontaneous play:  

Based on direct involvement of children, mainly through team games, child-centered. It’s main characteristics are the use of imagination and dramatization of children through play. Through spontaneous playing therefore placed themselves in imaginary stories, using thing around them to stimulate the play efficiently.  The role of the parent or teacher in these games is not prescriptive, but instead offer encouragement throughout this imaginary play theme. 

The only case that an adult will intervene if:
When it is necessary to give the child something that may offer a more effective result, and stronger stimulation  in their play. (Brown, & Marchant, 2002; Driscoll & Nagel, 2002).
 

Beyond that, it is necessary to leave your child to act through various games that motivate him to think, to implement ideas, and reflect on circumstances and events that he wants to actively participate in and be part of.

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