Friday, April 10, 2009

Social Play: Observing Children's Behaviours Through Dramatic Play.

Dramatic Play is among one of the important activities that is normally written into the daily preschool program across the different types of early childhood learning institutions in Australia. It helps children to learn social and language skills as well as develop their abilities to get along with their peers.

Therefore it is important that the teacher in the classroom should be trained to write out age appropriate activities on a daily basis, as it is too required by law for documentation purposes.

The following extracts are taken from Beaty, J (1994) Observing Development of the Young Child, Delmar, New York pp.116, 124-30. Her book has proven useful especially for trainee teachers undertaking observations, or those in need of aid on observations of children in the many different learning areas.

Gains Access to Ongoing Play in Positive Manner.
Access Rituals: These are maneuvers that children use to gain access to play that is already in progress.

Children who successfully gain access to enter ongoing play in a positive manner use among the follow strategies:
a) Observing the group to see what is going on
b) Adopting the group's frame of reference
c) Contributing something relevant to the play
d) Asking again if they are denied access
(LeBlanc, 1989, p.30)

Maintains Role in Ongoing Play in Positive Manner
Developing the skill to enter ongoing play is ont the end of social skill development for the preschool child, but only the beginning. The child must also be able to continue playing with the other.
They must be able to:
1. Carry on a conversation.
2. Main eye contact when speaking.
3. Listen to and watch other speakers.
4. Adjust own conversation content in order to be understood
(Smith, 1982, pp 135-136).

Yet being successful at group daramatic play helps young children to ractice and learn the social skills necessary to be sucessful in life. Some of the social skills children can learn through group dramatic play include:
1. Adjusting their actions to the requirements of their role and the group.
2. Being tolerant of others and their needs.
3. Not always expecting to have their own way.
4. Making appropriate responses to others.
5. Helping others and receiving help from them.

Resolves Play Conflicts in Positive Manner.
During group play, major conflicts often focus on
1. roles
2. direction of play
3. turns
4. toys

Rather than focusing on the negative behaviours during conflicts, spend some time observing how certain children are able to settle their disputes positively. We can learn a great deal from children if we are willing to.

Children who are successful in resolving play conflicts in a positive manner often use strategies such as
1. Ignoring the demand.
2. Distracting using other things that they forget about the conflict/demand.
3. Reasoning.
4. Negotiating a Compromise.
5. Co-operating
6. Compromising a demand

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