by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Reflections Magazine : Reflections Issue 60 Spring 2015
8 An often forgotten topic in early childhood education and care is the educator's role in imaginative play. It can be somewhat confronting for educators to feel they too have a part to "play" , so to speak, as so frequently educators' minds are consumed with thoughts like - observing, documenting, supervising, timelines, emails, deadlines, and so on! However, it is important to realise just how truly important it is to just 'be'! Be in amongst it, be one with the children, be in that moment and give your everything to define what it means to be a good early childhood educator, by letting go of what you 'think' you should be doing, compared to what you 'know' you need to do. When Sarah Young, PhD student and highly experienced early childhood drama teacher, visited Gowrie as part of her PhD research, her visits got me thinking about this topic. Sarah's task was to observe 'Imagination and the teacher's play pedagogy' and I was the participant amongst a group of 15 children in a simple, uncluttered setting across three, one-hour sessions each week. In each session or, "Play time with Sarah" , aptly named by Flynn, we required three very important resources: an empty room, bare feet, and permission to allow our imagination to launch us into another realm of being. For us, our alternate universe turned out to be the Octonauts' launch pad. In this universe a series of adventures occurred that required the children to explore, rescue and protect their peers, Sarah, or myself. We all shifted between character roles without the use of costumes, backdrops or sometimes even without props, while the props that we did use were mostly impromptu and basic day-to-day items. For example, in our first session I grabbed a dinner plate from our self-help area to use as a 'computer' to hack into the Octonauts' system. A dinner plate, you ask quizzically? Yes, and while I had my back turned from the children for that split-second (you may need to also let go of your need for constant surveillance of the group) and 'typed' away furiously on my dinner plate I had one of those 'Aha!' moments. I realised that through my own full participation, enjoyment and engagement of the play scenario, I had 15 preschool children also fully reciprocating how I felt - engaged, listened to and respected. They discussed with one another a rational hypothesis as to why I (the despondent character, Dashi) had stolen the Octonauts' computer. It almost seems like an early childhood educator's dream right? Well, if you're playing with your imagination, then your dreams really can come true. Beyond the pure enjoyment that comes from dramatic play involvement are the learning benefits reaped, not just for the children, but just as much for the educator/s involved. Together they can build on their capacity to have warm and engaging relationships with one another as they work IT'S OKAY TO PLAY!Rebecca Sabo Early Years Leader Docklands Children's Program Gowrie Victoria "Imagine all the people, living for today..." (John Lennon lyrics from "Imagine") Wait! Me? But I need to document the children's learning and ensure their health and safety. How will I manage their behaviours? What if something goes wrong?
Reflections Issue 59 Winter 2015
Reflections Issue 61, 2015