Play and Playful Teaching in the Curriculum Framework and in Selected Preschool Curricula
- Publisher: Edukacja Elementarna w Teorii i Praktyce
Elementary Education in Theory and Practice
(issn: 2353-7787, eissn: 1896-2327)
education | play; playful teaching; playful learning; core curriculum; preschool curricula | pedagogika | zabawa; nauczanie przez zabawę; uczenie w formie zabawy; podstawa programowa; programy wychowania przedszkolnego
How we define play inevitably depends on the sources of our thinking about it. Play theorists agree that it is free action, an essential attribute of childhood, and also the richest source of a child’s learning. It can be viewed from three points of view: as a pure form, as playful learning, and as playful teaching. The structure of one’s work with a small child, including the list of goals one seeks to achieve, is directed by the core curriculum of preschool education, and by those more specific pre-school educational curricula designed on the basis of it. The play-related issues that figure in the core curriculum concern the child’s actions and motivations, places and play spaces, and playground and security awareness. In this article, three selected pre-school education curricula are assessed: “The child in his/her element”, “Our nursery school” and “Nurseryschool calendar”. Analysis of the meanings of the term “play” as these appear in the contents of selected programs indicates that play is presented in different ways. We can find many good examples showing the primacy of free play in teaching, as well as examples where it is appropriately construed as a way of achieving the goals of education – especially in the “Nurseryschool calendar” and “Our nursery school” programs. There are also some examples of (over)use of play for purposes relating to education and teaching: e.g., in the curriculum entitled “The child in his/her element”. It is worth reflecting on the demarcation of borders, and how one should maintain a reasonable balance between children’s play in its pure form and learning and teaching through play – both in the documents that defining nursery-school work and in the preschool reality itself.