Pedagogical Perspectives on Play

Children's play and developmentChildren's play and developmentChildren's play and developmentChildren's play and development

The concept of play in Western society has become more and more in focus as a significant and effective medium for learning in day care and school institutions. The debate concerning the importance of play takes place on several levels, in different areas ranging from the political educational area, through the theoretical psychological–pedagogical area, to the area of everyday pedagogical praxis with children. In relation to this debate, the risk of losing the core meaning of play and reducing it to a learning instrument is a possibility and worth consideration.

There is a general tendency to emphasize the importance of play activity, not in itself, but in relation to learning, and consequently there is a risk of reductionism in the intent to make play a kind of “propeller” for more effective learning (Schousboe, Integrationsformer. In Udkast nr. 1., Copenhagen, 1989), reducing play substantially and essentially.

In this connection, it may thus be refreshing to focus on what adults can learn from children, that is, their thinking and self-organized play activities, in order to construct more children-oriented pedagogical frameworks and contexts. From a professional perspective, adults have the possibility and, according to children’s rights, the responsibility to take account of children’s perspectives including their points of view and concrete proposals in pedagogical praxis.

This article aims to look at play as a source of pedagogical inspiration with respect to play in itself, recognising its own essential characteristics. A methodological instrument in a cooperative perspective is presented as an example of pedagogical praxis inspired by the logic of social fantasy play.

Pedagogical Perspectives on Play, in: Children’s Play and Development, Springer ed.

Daniela Cecchin, juni, 2013