children learning english

The play’s the thing

Just back from summer work and holidays and a technical break which took my website down for a few days! September is one of my favourite months in our part of the world – days are still long and the weather usually pleasant. And as children move into new classes it always seems like a new beginning!

Watching children play over the summer break reminded me forcefully of its powerful place in their learning. In many countries it is assumed that by this I mean some kind of fun and entertainment whereas recently I’ve been appreciating once more how during play children use all their experiences to construct their understanding of reality. This takes on a new dimension in mixed age groups when you see younger ones watching, interpreting and constructing meaning through this sharing with the older ones.

ready for the "play"

Not for the first time I thought of Mildren Parten’s classic study of how play develops in young children – as valid today as it was in the 1920’s. For a good résumé and so much more that is really valuable – check out PsyBlog

Of course looking at how play developed during summer days set me thinking again of ways to bring this “free” cooperative play into the language classroom.  Right now Bear’s preparing materials for younger children he’s going to meet soon … more to follow!



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