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ABS057 - Exploratory playworlds: reconsidering the relationship between pretend play and exploration in early childhood education

1.2 Children’s development and childhood
Paper in a Symposium (Symp)
5:20 PM, Tuesday 29 Aug 2017 (30 minutes)
Preschools are increasingly focused on children’s cognitive development and school preparation at the expense of supporting the development of children as whole persons, their subjectivity. Two preschool pedagogies that do not fall prey to this trend, and which have roots in Vygotsky’s theories, are playworlds and the Reggio Emilia-inspired pedagogy of listening. In playworlds, children’s pretend play is based on an understanding of children as creative. The pedagogy of listening does not focus on play, but understands children as engaged, reflective culture creators, and focuses on the creation of environments that afford children’s exploration, a concept not theorized to the same degree as pretend play. In this paper we investigate the concept of exploration and exploratory play in relation to pretend play, and present our understanding of a preschool pedagogy that focuses simultaneously on play and exploration as sufficient for the growth of the whole person, that is, their becoming as a subject. We make this case by presenting two projects, drawn from an ethnography of three Swedish Preschools, in which children’s play and exploration were both foci. We argue that these examples force us to rethink what children do in pretend play and in exploration, and how both pretend play and exploration are related to learning and growth. Emphasizing subjectivity the introduction of scientific concepts and school-based learning should be reconsidered from a didactical perspective: What, when, and how will scientific concepts be useful in the life of the child and for the growth of subjectivity?
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication
Brooklyn College
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication
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