EACH STYLE IS IMPORTANT –
I’ll have to try them all out!
PREVIOUS: Play FORMS (Part 3)
DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES of Play (P) in Early Childhood
Mildren Parten (1932) proposed that children progress through SIX social levels of play, each one more complex & requiring more social skills be able to interact successfully with their peer group. Normal progression is from solitary >> to comfortable social interaction, as the child grows physically & psychologically.
KEEP IN MIND:
Except for the infant, the stages are fluid, & can show up at different ages, depending on the personality & circumstances of each child. >> CHART
1. Unoccupied Behavior
Babies are mainly looking at anything that catches their eye, including watching adults closely. If nothing exciting is happening they’ll play with their own body, & later will get on & off chairs, stand around, follow an adult, or sit in one spot & observe. In spite of appearances this is early play, setting the stage for future play exploration.
• Birth – 6 months: Babies explore their environment by put things into mouth & touch things with hands. Play alone with toys, such as rattles & shakers or banging things with both hands.
• 6-12 months: They look at and imitate adults, copy their actions – such as by dropping things. Continue playing with toys alone, explore things with mouth & hands. Like simple games (peek-a-boo….)
2. Onlooker Behavior
When children spend most of their time definitely watching others at play, rather than other exciting things in the environment, being near enough to maybe talk to them, ask questions or give suggestions, but not joining in. It teaches toddlers how to act when ready to join in the fun. Watching the big kids play is a great way to learn the politics of the playground (no stealing shovels!).
• 12-18 months: They start to play with grown-ups & notice other children. Learn through trial and error, such as banging 2 objects & find out the sounds it makes. Repeat actions they enjoyed. Play & ‘talk’ alone.
> 2 & 3 yr olds in solitary play are learning how to keep themselves entertained, eventually setting the path for being self-sufficient
3. Solitary Play
When children play independently, with toys that are different from those used by others within speaking distance. They make no effort to get closer, content to pursue their ownactivity without referring to what anyone else is doing. They’re still too self-oriented, don’t yet have much of a vocabulary, or may be shy, & are too interested in exploring the world around them to play socially
• 1.5 – 2 years : They like to play with adults as well as alone.
Look at other children playing but don’t join in. Copy them and adults. Continue to explore things with mouth, and learn by trial and error. Like repetitive actions, such as putting objects in and out of boxes, and scribbling on many pages.
4. Parallel P.
When children play independently but alongside other kids, with toys that are like the others but used in their own style, and don’t try to influence or modify what nearby children are doing. They are in fact learning quite a bit from each another, because even though they don’t seem to be paying attention to each other, they often mimic the other’s behavior. It’s an important bridge to later stages of play.
• 1.5 – 2.5 : They show interest in what is happening by pointing or squealing, but may prefer to do it from the safety of a caregiver’s lap
• 2.5 – 3 years : They start to play near other children, & while not acknowledging each other, are happy to play separately side by side. They continue copying them & adults. Begin to show some reasoning skills, & using symbols in play (a stick becomes a sword). Much of the play is ‘imaginative’ (scolding toys). Still learning by trial and error.
5. Associative P.
When children start to see the value in playing with others, but test their boundaries. They don’t ignoring their own interests, with a mild attempt to control who can & can’t be in the group. They’re involved with what the others are doing – all play the same games, talk about what they’re doing, borrow and lend play things, follow each other with trains or wagons…. without assigning tasks & materials, or choosing a goal. They may alternate playing with others & then on their own.
SKILLS which help build friendships:
— Cooperation (if we work together we can make our city even better!)
— Language development (what to say to get their messages across)
— Problem solving (how can we make this city bigger?)
— Socialization (what should we build now?)
• 3 – 4 years : They play cooperatively together, taking turns with other children. Show more reasoning skills and ask Qs re. ‘why’ and ‘how’.
Recognize shapes, letters, colors, & can solve jigsaw puzzles by combining thinking with trial and error. Play imaginatively (play house, dress-up…).
NEXT: Childhood Play STAGES (Part 2)