Musing on Play

My good friend Sarah and I had lunch today and as always we had a lively discussion about children, their interests, theories and competencies. We talked about play, what it is, what it is not, and what is our role as educators….we talked about values and how they influence what we do, and nuances, and relationships….(yes pretty much an entire 2 hours of conversation, ECE nerds or what?!)

 As I drove home I continued to muse, What IS play? What IS our role?

 In Reggio and elsewhere there is much talk of the pedagogy of listening, an idea, a hope, a way of being.  I began to wonder, how does the pedagogy of listening relate to play? What does it mean to us in our programs?

I think if we are listening to children (not just the words they say, but also to what they say without words) we will think differently. If we are listening we cannot tell them what to do in play. If we are listening we cannot create play spaces, decide on projects, create art areas and tell children what and how play in them. If we are listening, we will be doing ‘with’ rather than ‘for’.

The pedagogy of listening invites us, compels us, to be in a relationship with children, a relationship that embraces complexity, democracy and acceptance.

Listening… is a way of thinking and seeing ourselves in relationship with others and the world Carlina Rinaldi

So perhaps our role is about: “creating a context in which children’s curiosity, theories and research are legitimated and listened to, a context in which children feel comfortable and confident, and at the same time, to be able to widen and extend children’s horizons by creating complexity in the child’s environment and by introducing new theories, concepts, languages and materials, as tools for children’s theorizing and meaning making” (Dahlberg & Moss 2005 p. 103-104)

Thanks for the lunch conversation Sarah. Inspiring as usual.

About Kim

Kim is an admitted ECE geek. She and Danielle have bonded over their shared geekdom and have come to terms with it. She is a pedagogical facilitator working with educators in a number of early learning settings supporting and extending new thinking and practice. She loves reading, writing, talking and sharing ideas about the potentials of teaching and learning with ece's and young children. ECE geeks unite!

2 thoughts on “Musing on Play

  1. As always you say it so creatively Kim! It was great conversation and I too drove home musing about what defines play and what is our role in supporting children’s play? I went on to think about what I love most about working with children, and hands down it’s the conversation! We listen to children, we watch them play and we respond to their cues. We work together, we play together and we talk together. We inspire one another. “I’ve got an idea!” is one of those things I never tire of hearing. I look forward to our next lunch together!

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