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Teachers' and parents' understanding of the concept of play in child development and education

By Mastura Badzis


This study is set in the context of an increasing awareness of the need for and importance of quality play learning experience for pre-school children owing to its crucial role and great contributions to various aspects of child development. The main aim of this study is to examine teachers' and parents' perspectives on play and their understanding of the role of play in relation to children's learning particularly in pre­school practice. Teachers' perceptions of play were described and analysed with respect to their definition of play, roles and values of play in relation to children's learning, and the use of play in teaching. Parents' understandings of the concept of play were examined through their perception on play as pedagogical tools and their preference for pre-school learning activities.\ud \ud The findings of the study imply that:\ud \ud (i) There was a mismatch between teachers' understanding of the word play in child development and play in relation to educational program of the children.\ud \ud (ii) Only few parents considered play to be the appropriate way of children's learning. Most of them preferred a formal learning environment for their children's pre-school activities.\ud \ud (iii) Play activities tended not to provide learning experiences of acceptable quality in most of the settings and many pre-school teachers taught children in a very formal way.\ud \ud (iv) There was no evidence of systematic differences between the philosophy and type of settings in respect to play understanding. The differences are the level of the teachers' knowledge, professional training and academic qualifications.\ud \ud (v) Mainly there were four main factors concluded as impeding the progress of deploying play in Malaysian pre-school practice: conceptual barriers, attitudinal barriers, structural barriers and functional barriers.\ud \ud As a result of the findings, some implications have been advocated concerning the need for rethinking the practice in Malaysian pre-schools for improving the approach to educating young children by giving play its central role in children's learning and free from academic stress

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OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2502

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