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Building on Lindqvist's aesthetics of play and fairy tales in an Australian playworld

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
2:30 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
The international trend to emphasise learning over play in early childhood education suggests there is a need to advance on Lindqvist's original playworlds pedagogy for new cultural contexts. Lindqvist's (1995) pedagogy of play is anchored in Vygotsky's conception of play (1933/66) and art (1925/71). Foundational to Vygotsky's aesthetics is the social nature of consciousness. Through linking emotions to thought, "the aesthetics get a new role in the process of consciousness" (Lindqvist, 2003, p.246). Human relations are central to the emergence and formation of consciousness, which is largely "an attribute and characteristic of the collective" (Zinchenko, 2009, p.51). But more needs to be known about how social consciousness develops in joint adult-child imaginary situations (playworlds) and, reciprocally, how social consciousness develops the "aesthetic patterns and progression of play" (Lindqvist, 1995, p. 213). Vygotsky's term for early forms of social consciousness, such as that between a mother and baby, was "pra-we" consciousness. Lindqvist noted how the youngest children were "mainly responsible for creating the basic atmosphere" (1995, p. 106). The "basic atmosphere" is conceptualised in this study as a "pra-we" collective consciousness (the unit of analysis). It focuses on the way in which "pra-we" consciousness develops in playworlds environments, initially as an emotional relation between people. This supports the play itself to develop and to develop in complexity. This presentation reports on a study of how teachers and children jointly developed a "pra-we" consciousness during a six-week playworlds project in an Australian childcare centre. The 25 children in this multi-age group were aged between 1.8 and 5 years. 60 hours of video data were collected and analysed using Fleer's (2014) three iterative layers of analysis. In particular, the role of fairy-tale aesthetics in this process is examined. It is argued that a deeper appreciation of Lindqvist's work on the aesthetics of play and fairy tales will help early childhood teachers to introduce playworlds pedagogy into Australian preschool contexts and develop the complexity of their joint play with children. This study makes a contribution to the understanding of “pra we" collective consciousness as a unit of analysis in cultural-historical theory.
Monash University
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