Identify theories which influence play

Qualification: Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.3: Apply theoretical perspectives and philosophical approaches to play
Learning outcome: 1 Understand theoretical perspectives which support play
Assessment criteria: 1.1 Identify theories which influence play

  • Piaget
    • Young children learn best when given the opportunity to explore a stimulating environment
    • 4 stages of cognitive development
      1. Sensorimotor (birth to 2 years) – experience immediate environment, begin to understand object permenance (an object is still there when not looking at it)
      2. Preoperational (2 to 7 years) – egocentricism, children will play next to one another rather than together, think symbolically
      3. Concrete operational (7 to 11 years) – begin to be able see different points of view, better understanding of conservation and logic
      4. Formal operational (12+) – can understand abstract and hypothetical ideas,
  • Vygotsky
    • Child-initiated play is important but children will eventually hit a ceiling where they can learn no more
    • At this point, social interaction and support is needed for a children to continue to develop – this is the Zoneof Proximal Development
  • Froebel
    • Emphasis on child-led play/free play
    • Adults provide ‘gifts’ and ‘occupations’ for the child to explore to assist with their development
    • Holistic approach to development (e.g. physical, social, emotional, academic etc.)
  • Winnicott – transitional objects (such as teddy bears or blankets etc.) can provide a child with comfort and be used in symbolic play
  • Athey
    • Children develop patterns in their play, called schema
    • E.g. children with a trajectory schema are interested in movement and may run around a lot or throw/drop things
    • E.g. children with rotation schema are in terested in things that spin or roll, such as wheels or balls
  • Bandura’s social learning theory – children learn by observing and copying others

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