Play and learning—inseparable dimensions in preschool practice

Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson, Eva Johansson
2006 Early Child Development and Care  
This article is a theoretical discussion on the dimensions of learning in play and the dimensions of play in learning, using the playful interaction between children and teachers as a starting point. From an empirical study observations of two situations were chosen, one from a mealtime and one of children's play, both typical examples of playful interactions between teachers and children. The aim of the analysis was to detect and understand whether play and learning could be involved and how
more » ... involved and how these dimensions might be expressed by children and teachers in the interactions. In research, as well as in the preschool practice, play and learning have been kept apart. Today the difference between these two concepts seems to be less well defined Joy, creativity, creation of meaning and children's possibilities to control and form goals are especially pointed out as dimensions that all seem possible and important in both play and learning. Play is pointed out as an important part of the learning process, and the teacher's responsibility for play and learning has been elucidated in new curricula. Our analysis of the observations shows that although both of the situations were different in character, dimensions of play and learning were found in each of them. In our first example the act of play and learning was to follow the child, while the second one deals more with an act of both words and actions, and focuses on children's interest in order to make them involved. Encouragement, imitation and communication become prominent in both of the situations, as well as joy, creativity, creation of meaning and children's possibilities to control and form goals. The study highlights the importance of the teachers when it comes to the development of a situation of interplay, and how this situation will appear to the children. Play and learning are dimensions that stimulate each other and could be seen as an indivisible entirety, which is a part of children's experiencing, and which helps them create an understanding of their surrounding world in a lifelong process.
doi:10.1080/0300443042000302654 fatcat:txaaxjr735b5jjgaedqakbtpwi