Childrendo learn best through play and this is very evident at my placement as theyencourage to be a part of their routine this can be both indoors and outdoors. Playis something so natural in children and it has an important role in thefoundation of their early years. This is evident in my placement when thechildren are playing they learn new skills such associal skills, creativity, hand-eye coordination, problem solving andimagination.Childrencan learn best through creative play, they are extremelyexpressive from a young age and have the ability for sharing feelings andemotions, and imagination plays a key role in their knowledge andunderstanding. Moyle’s 2007believes that ‘through play children learn to think for themselves, playmotivates children by stimulating their curiosity developing a desire to findout.
‘ Children have the opportunity to enjoy colour,shapes, textures, sounds and sights, are important aspects of the young child’sdevelopment. As a result of these experiences they contribute to thedevelopment of social, physical, intellectual and communication skills, theirconfidence and self-esteem is boosted and children are learning more aboutthemselves and the world around them. Muchemphasis has been placed on outdoor play in many early years’ settings and howinfluential it can be for the child’s overall holistic development. HelenBilton (2005), “Outside is a natural environment for children; there is afreedom associated with the space that cannot be replicated inside”, page 8.Throughmy own experience in my placement setting, children are becoming moreimaginative and creative whenever they play outside.
Bilton 2005, “outdoors isa perfect place to learn through movement, one of the four vehicles throughwhich children learn, the others being play, talk and sensory experience” page10. At my placement setting the children would play with a variety of resourcessuch as pulling a truck, digging, kicking a ball, stacking racks, puzzles andshape sorters, all of these names exampled require action as a result theylearn though play. Piaget believed in strategies, for examplelearning through discovery which focussed on play and activity. Jean Piaget placed emphasis on active learning and as a result thechildren learn by doing. Piaget’s work placed emphasis on schemas. “Schemas arethe building blocks of such cognitive models and enable us to form a mentalrepresentation of the world” (10.12.
17) www.simplypsychology.org Vygotsky believed that the child’s desire to play is so powerful thatit becomes a motivator for learning self-control. Vygotsky believed that the childaccepts and desires the rules of play only because he or she has the option toquit if they want to.Like Piaget, Vygotskybelieves that young children are curious and actively involved in their learningand development of new understandings/schema. However, Vygotsky believedin social contributions to the process of children’s development, Piaget placedemphasis on self-initiated discovery. (10.
Vygotsky (1978)views the Zone of Proximal Development as the area where the most guidanceshould be given, the child can therefore develop skills they will then use independently.”Vygotsky also viewsinteraction with peers as an effective way of developing skills andstrategies. He suggests that teachers use cooperative learning exerciseswhere less competent children develop with help from more skillful peers -within the zone of proximal development.” (10.12.17) www.
simplypsychology.org Scaffolding is a principle of Vygotsky for thesociocultural perspective. Scaffolding involves providing the learner withhints or clues for problem solving in order to allow the student to betterapproach the problem in the future (Woolfolk, A., 2004).
Vygotsky stresses the importance of playin the shaping and moulding of children’s cognitive development. According to Vygotsky (1978), the valueof play materials is that they help children separate themselves from concretereality and distinguish between actual objects and what they are intended torepresent. Fergus P. Hughes (2009) page 215 “Psychologists who study children’sintellectual development report that numerous underlying cognitive skills areenhanced during play. “Piaget emphasised for discovery learning withlittle adult intervention, while on the other hand Vygotsky promoted forguidance in the classroom.
Piaget and Vygotsky provided educators in settingswith important views on cognitive development in the child. Marilyn Fleer (2008) states that ‘Piaget’sconstructivist theory focusses on cognitive development forming through play,however Vygotsky believed that a child’s learning is assisted by the help ofother individuals’. Inconclusion to my essay I have presented a theoretical discussion and usedexamples from my placement experience and relevant reading stating that’Children learn best through play.’ I used a wide variety of resourcessupporting both Piagetian andVygotskian theories of play and their views and opinions towards how childrenlearn through play. Today’s early years settings use various approacheswhich have been greatly influenced by the research of Jean Piaget and LevVygotsky. Both theorists have contributed significantly to the field ofeducation through explanations of children’s cognitive learning styles andabilities.