Play for Learning: The Adult’s Role. Essay

Play for Learning: The Adult’s Role. Essay

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The teacher’s role within New Zealand’s state system of primary level learning has changed dramatically over recent years. The once very teacher oriented, chalk and talk based classroom has developed into an open and enjoyable place catered to the individual child’s own learning pace and learning style.

The intention of this essay is to explore and discuss how adults’ different interactions with children in early primary years and how play affects their learning both positively and negatively. First it will explore changes within the ways primary teaching has occurred since the release of Te Whāriki in 1996 and the more recent New Zealand Curriculum in 2007. It will then go on to a discussion of child-led play in the primary level classroom and where the teacher fits in. It will finish with some ideas of how adults can work play into day-to-day activities.

When the growing number of early childhood education centres of various types led to the release of Te Whāriki, in 1996, it allowed for a dramatic change in the way education was viewed in New Zealand. Learning was no longer restricted to sitting in rows in the classroom listening to the teachers recite, with play used only as a way for children to let off steam between lessons, and give teachers time to mark (Arthur, Beecher, Death, Dockett, And Farmer, 2008). In this amazing new government document, play within the early childhood context was acknowledged as essential for the child’s growth as a person, and a valid way to learn, as shown by the Holistic development principle’s requirement that children have “opportunities for open ended exploration and play” (Ministry of Education, 1996, p41) and with the relationship principle’s “appropriate and interesting play mat...


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...in the early primary levels.



Works Cited

Council for Education Change, (2010). Best Mathematic Practices K-C retrieved March 11, 2010, from: http://www.teachersandteaching.com/tti_module_math/glossary.php

Arthur, L., Beecher, B., Death, E., Dockett, S., and Farmer, S., (2008) Programming and planning in early childhood settings (4th Ed.). South Melbourne, Australia: Thompson.

Ministry of education (1996). Te Whāriki: he whāriki Mātauranga mo nga mokopuna o Aotearoa: Early chilhood curriculum. Wellington, NZ: learning Media Limited.

Berk, L. (2005) Infants, Children and Adolescents: Fifth Edition. Boston, MA, USA: Pearson.

O’Donnell, M. (2007) Maria Montessori. London, UK: Continuum International Publishing Group.

Wood, E. and Attfield, J. (2005) Play, learning and the early childhood curriculum: edition two. London, UK: Paul Chapman Publishing.

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