Blocks in Play
This session offers an exploration of blocks as a central medium for young children's play. Block play allows children explorations in math, science, social studies, and language arts and involves problem solving, experimentation, negotiation, and other abilities crucial in child development. Focusing on unit blocks, but also including other building materials, we will examine through both discussion and experience how blocks play into these areas and abilities.
Keeping Play in the Classroom; Defending Childhood to Parents
There are many different views of the merits and value of play in educational settings. Early childhood educators, child development specialists, school administrators and even politicians cannot seem to agree on the role of play in the classroom, so how can we possibly expect parents to value play when there is such a lack of clarity? Most parents have strong feelings concerning play and childhood, which are often connected to their own cultural expectations of the roles of work and play in life. How can parents become our “allies” in our fight to keep play firmly grounded in early childhood classrooms and other educational settings?
Looking at Children's Play
This session introduces participants to the field observation process which takes place at the Sarah Lawrence Early Childhood Center. Drawing on what we have seen and discussed so far, we will provide a template for observing and recording observations which will serve as the basis for discussion on such topics as: What functions do different forms of play serve for the child? What is the shape of a “play episode”? How do children collaborate in play? Are there different kinds of imaginative activities that serve differing functions? Can we identify the sources of themes revealed in the children’s play?
The Meanings of Play: Developmental Perspectives
This session begins with an introduction and viewing of the film When a Child Pretends, made for public television by Jonathan Diamond Associates in association with the Child Development Institute. We will then consider the kinds of activities that are called “play” and their differing roles in the lives of children. Using the film as a basis for discussion, this session focuses primarily on imaginative or pretend play. An introduction to psychological theories of play highlights social, emotional, imaginative and cognitive aspects of play and serves as a foundation for understanding the importance of play for the child’s development.
Play and Culture
This session will address the intersection of play and culture, focusing on the ways that contexts (defined broadly as family, cultural norms, social expectations) influence the nature of play and attitudes that adults hold toward the meaning and uses of play. In the summer of 2007, Marie Reynolds introduced play therapy to the Child Abuse Mitigation Project in Jamaica, and since her return to Jamaica she has continued to expand awareness of and advocate for the value of play and play therapy through both her clinical work at the Family Life Ministries counseling centre and her participation in the fledgling Jamaica Play Coalition. Using anecdotal and case references, participants will gain an understanding of the cultural context of play and play therapy in Jamaica, including how this is shaped by child socialization and patterns of parent-child interaction.
Playwork and Setting the Stage for "Loose Parts" Play
This workshop will explore the phenomenon of adventure playgrounds and the profession of playwork, which developed in the UK after World War II. Adventure playgrounds use loose parts— materials such as wood, sand, water, cardboard boxes, string, fabric, and other recycled materials. We will consider how these materials and the site itself contribute to the children's play. This session will lay the groundwork for the afternoon event of setting up and carrying out a pop-up adventure playground in Sullivan Park, nearby in Yonkers.