How Do Children Learn Through Play

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How do children learn through play? How does teacher intervention support or limit the learning through play? Give examples of practice to support your answer. Learning through play is a term that is used frequently in both education and developmental psychology. It is a way to describe how children use play to make sense of the world around them and can be an important tool for the development of language to communicate, the mind to imagine, to plan strategies and to solve problems. Lillard (1993) proposes that children often show more advanced intellectual skills during pretend play than they do when performing other activities, suggesting that play fosters and enhances cognitive development. Many see Froebel as one of the early pioneers of learning through play applying his drawings on the philosophy of his day. ‘He proposed that play is the way that children integrate and bring together what they know, understand and feel into a whole’ (Bruce, 2004, p.132). Froebel believed that play makes it possible for children to ‘think flexibly, to adapt what they know and to, try out different possibilities and to reach abstract levels of functioning in a way that is appropriate.’ (Bruce, 2004, p.132). Bruner (1983, p.43) sees play as ‘preparation for the technical and social life that constitutes human culture’. Bruner’s theory gained much popularity in the 1960’s, and with it, his uneasiness of free-flow play and preference for games with rules. This lead to a popularity among followers of Bruner’s work in techniques such as guided play, play tutoring and structured play. Whilst some argue that adult intervention damages children’s play (Bruce 2004, p.135, Kalliala 2004, p.32), in practice it has been seen to be useful to children in some contexts. Through my own observations I have perceived Bruner’s suggestions about guided play being used effectively. Upon
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