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Indonesian children’s play and learning in the context of a project approach

2.1 Learning and development in onsite communities and online spaces
Poster presentation on PhD Day
12:30 PM, Monday 28 Aug 2017 (1 hour)
Elkonin (2005) argued that play can not be separated from children’s life and their play practice reflects the themes of everyday life. According to Vygotsky (1966, 2016), play is the source of preschool children’s development. Yet how play is enacted in Indonesian preschools has received very little attention. This paper focuses on how children play in the context of a project approach to learning, where play is explicitly supported. A project approach is relatively new for Indonesian early childhood education, and as such, provides a rich context in which to study children’s play. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss an empirical study about children’s play through a project approach to learning. The study utilised a qualitative approach to data gathering. Data were collected from 25 children and 3 teachers through observation and interview (94 hours of data were generated). The study found five categories of how children’s play through a project approach to learning, and these findings are discussed in the context of the play literature where biological, rather than cultural, interpretation of play dominate. A key finding that stands out was the lack of children’s play in the context of Indonesians kindergarten settings. Reasons suggested are, first, the lack of teachers knowledge about playing in a project approach to learning. Second, the traditional role of the teacher in Indonesian preschools appeared to work against the pedagogy of a project approach to learning, and third, the demands of an academic curriculum, where learning objectives are expected to dominate teaching practice. These findings contribute to better understanding of the relations between play and learning in the context of Indonesian preschools.
Monash University/Universitas Negeri Jakarta
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