Essay on Play

A) How and why does a child’s play change over time? Make critical references to theories of play and child development and relevant research evidence.

“Play is a fun, enjoyable activity that elevates our spirits and brightens our outlook on life. It expands self-expression, self-knowledge, self-actualization and self-efficacy. Play relieves feelings of stress and boredom, connects us to people in a positive way, stimulates creative thinking and exploration, regulates our emotions, and boosts our ego (Landreth, 2002). In addition, play allows us to practice skills and roles needed for survival. Learning and development are best fostered through play (Russ, 2004)”.
A child’s environment can be a place where they are encouraged, through play, to explore, make discoveries and have a wealth of enjoyable experiences. Children react to their environment from a very early age. According to the research carried out by Piaget (1896) which started with the study of his own children, the Sensori-motor stage (birth -2 years) proclaims that from birth, the cognitive development is a progressive process as a result of biological maturation and environmental experience.
This research suggests that children develop through each stage at a set pace according to their experiences, i.e., at birth they are expected to meet certain expectations and know instinctively how to ‘suck and root’ From this, they are expected to progress through a series of stages which Piaget has categorised as; Sensori-motor (birth-2) Pre-operational (2-7yrs), Concrete Operational (7-11yrs) and Formal Operational (11years and up). These set ‘rules’ of development were meant to be reached naturally. Vygotsky (1896-1934) contradicted those of Piaget in that Vygotsky suggests that an adult should play an active role in assisting the child’s learning. The theories of Piaget were thought to be too rigid and theorists such as Bruner (1915) who did extensive research, especially relating to the learning of...