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Reflections Magazine : Reflections Magazine Issue 54
12 Extract 1 T-Researcher: All of those things you were doing for the party, what would you call that? Henry: Build... T-Researcher: Have you got a word that you'd call it? Building? Henry: Yep. We builded the thing up so the wood couldn't break. T-Researcher: Yes, I saw that big building part you'd done with lots of repairs. T-Researcher: Is there anything else that you do at kindy that you call playing? What else would you do at kindy that would be playing? Henry: Playing in a mud patch. T-Researcher: That's playing, isn't it? Henry: Yeah. In Extract 1, the teacher-researcher opened the discussion with a question that encouraged the children to name the activity they had been doing. Henry initially responded by describing his actions of building. At this point, he did not describe the activity as play. When the teacher-researcher introduced the term 'play', Henry took up this term in his response, "playing in a mud patch" . Play, after the teacher used this concept, now became part of Henry's description of the activity. Before that, he had described a much more specific and work-oriented activity, that of building. In the next extract, Extract 2, the teacher-researcher continued probing what was meant by play. The study This study involved a collaborative effort with experienced senior teacher-researchers in centres in Australia and Iceland examining comparative understandings of young children's views on play across the two countries. The Australian project was a joint initiative with teachers from Gowrie Queensland affiliated kindergartens, and initially designed in collaboration with Jane Bourne, CEO of The Gowrie (QLD) Inc. The research team were Jane Bourne, Claire Carter-Jones, Desley Jones, Helen Knaggs, and Sharon Ross (The Gowrie QLD); Maryanne Theobald and Susan Danby (QUT); and Johanna Einarsdottir (University of Iceland). One aspect of involvement was the opportunity for shared professional interactions that promoted professional renewal through reflection and research. The research questions of the project were: • How do children account for their activities in kindergarten? • What counts as everyday play practices for children? • What do children like or dislike about play? • What is the teacher's role in play activities? In 2013, the teacher-researchers video-recorded segments of children's play in their classrooms. They then selected video extracts to play back to the children involved to explore their views on what was happening. These interviews with the children were video recorded. Collaborative workshop sessions were held where teacher and academic researchers came together to plan, share and discuss their experiences and to collaboratively analyse the video-recordings of children's play and also the children's views. These discussions provided multiple perspectives and insights into what counts as play, working to reframe, rethink and redefine the role of play and also educators' roles in educating young children. Children's views of play The children's views of play discussed below were taken from an interview with a group of children at one centre. The teachers, on initially viewing the video-recordings, commented on how surprised they were that the children did not use the term 'play' to describe their activities in the classroom and playground. This observation led to quite a lot of discussion and reflection. Extracts 1 and 2, below, show the children's responses after they viewed a video recording of themselves involved in making a pretend party that day. We introduce these two extracts as a way of thinking about how children might view play, and how teachers might view play, with a view to realising that there may actually be different understandings being generated. Pseudonyms replaced the names of the participants in the extracts below.
Reflections Magazine Issue 53 Summer 2013
Reflections Magazine Issue 55 Winter 2014