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Theories for Play and Learning in Childcare

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Childcare
Wordcount: 3633 words Published: 17th Oct 2017

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Education is the backbone for any nation and children are future of a country. Proper education for children is very important for any children. But this education process must need to be productive and effective and designed in structured ways for prosperity of nation. To make education process effective through play and learning planners need to plan according to theoretical approaches practiced long time in play and learning. Not every child in a school or learning activity set is same. Some children are with special needs and need to be teaching carefully. Several types of assessment can be conduct to find out these children with special needs and teach them. Planning play and learning activities for children will be more productive by preparing them by consulting with parents and professionals. Finally results should be recorded for future uses with further education planning for a nation to be more developed. Wrong education in early stages can ruin the future of a child. So high care, in designing early learning activities need to be taken for development of children and nation.

Assessment criteria 1.1- Describe the development, over time, of theoretical approaches to play and learning.

Several theories in play and learning have developed time to time but no theories were good enough to describe it. Many theories for development in educational practices for children are being used during 20th century. Important theories among them are maturational theory, behaviourist theory, psychoanalytic theory, constructivist theory, socio-historical theory, ecological theory, ecological theory, environmentalist theory and many others.

Maturational Theory:

This theory was developed by Arnold Gesell in 1925. This theory was developed, based on 3 assumptions,

  • Development base is biological,
  • Type of body,
  • Ectomorph
  • Endomorph
  • Mesomorph
  • Alternating between good and bad years.

These assumptions are related with personality development that influenced teaching and reading method of children in mid nineteenth century. By this theory children were not ready for study until 6 years old mentally. Activities in school were developed for unready children to help them to be ready for reading. This process is still in practices known as preschool.

Behaviourist Theory:

Behaviourist theory was developed by Skinner and Bijou. This theory influenced special education programmes in schools. Its main theme is role of environment in children’s education and development. Teacher uses this theory for those who found with difficulties in on-going environment. Major objective of this theory was not left any children behind.

Psychoanalytic Theory:

From the very start of 1920 this theory was used for analysing behaviour disorder of children, developed by Freud. In this theory, play therapy was recommended for children accompanied by parents or children. This theory was very useful for children with special needs.

Constructivist Theory:

There are many constructivist theories, among them theory of Pia Get affects activities of classroom in 21st century. This theory focused on mathematical and logical knowledge of children via improving individual’s relationship rather than socially build knowledge.

Socio-historical theory:

Developed by Vygotsky in 1978 gave importance on socio-historical context of learning by teaching culture, language and literacy and involvement of adult persons in proximal development zone of a child. Proximal zone of development in children education concept affected learning and play greatly.

Ecological System theory:

This system stated that children’s learning capabilities are directly or indirectly get affected by their residence place. All macro, micro, meso and exo system of residing place affect a child’s temperament, activity, capability to learn and attention.

Environmentalist Theory:

This theory resembles ecological theory in some point. Follower of this theory believe that learning theory of children get shaped by environment they belongs to as natural response tendency of human to nature. This concept leads to the idea of developing schools, educators and most importantly families for proper learning of a child.

Multiple Intelligence Theory:

Developed by Gardner, this theory is influencing recent learning system. Main theme of this theory is to develop multiple types of problem solving abilities in children to develop them.

Assessment criteria 1.2- Evaluate different philosophical approaches to play and learning.

Philosophical approaches in play and learning are approaches taken by preschools to improve readiness of children. There are many of these approaches and some of them are evaluate below.

Play based:

Play based philosophy is program of school where children have the ability to choose activity according to their interest. This approach is also known as “child-centered” approach. In this philosophy, classroom is divided into various sections such as, science, kitchen, reading and many other reading related toys. Teachers let children to play. It seems that children are just playing but through playing they are building social communication skill, cooperation and getting interested in specific subject. This approach is one of the best philosophical approaches.


It is designed with lots of activities for children. Opposite of play based where teacher guide children to do specific activities. Here children get prepared for reading. Teacher let children learn music, letters, shapes, colours etc. most of the parents think that this approach is best as their children are learning in a structured way but philosophers says that preschool stage is for learning social and communication skills.


This approach designed by Maria Montessori in Italy. This approach is play based with focus on academic activities. In this system children learn according to their pace. Teachers gathered them and design the classroom according to age. This helps younger to learn from older. This is a good approach as it’s based on play and learning both.


This system increase children’s creativity in learning. Specific activities set according to time in weeks and ages of children where they can learn gardening, music, reading, singing, and acting. This system is a blend of creative learning and reading. They also learn other social skill in this system.

Reggio Emilia:

This system is designed to let children explore their learning capabilities. It was developed by Reggio Emilia in Italy. It is project based philosophy where students can learn according to their interest. Though, this system is good for aged children but not appropriate for younger children.

Assessment criteria1.3- discuss on current influences on play and learning and the planning and provision of learning.

Influencing factors

Play and learning

Planning and provision of learning

Physical security

In play and learning students do lots of activities and security program must be taken for them.

Sometimes teachers may reject some activities where children might get physical injury.

Social and emotional issues.

Wrong social and emotional education ruins students’ ability in social skills and emotional feelings.

Planners have to choose teacher with good social skills and emotional knowledge which is a tough task.


Environment of learning and play influence children ability to learn.

Higher school authority has to ensure perfect environment for play and learning which is sometimes costly.


Curriculum leads children to further learning process after preschool.

Wrong curriculum can kill valuable times and future of children so it must be designed with specialist.

Parent and teacher role

Better parental and teacher role can develop learning process and let a child learn hurry.

Teacher role can be controlled by supervision but parent need to be counselled by school authority which increase cost and manpower.

Assessment criteria 2.1- explain the use of observations to assess learning needs, consider how assessment based on observations can inform planning and respond to individual learning needs.

Observation can be great uses to asses learning needs of a child. In this process a teacher observe children behaviour of academic learning, engagement in activities, interest, response to environment, continuity in interest, progress made by children etc. and record them. Parents can also children behaviour in their community. Systematic observation over time is better than one time observation. By observing several time it easy to know interaction of a child with activities and toys around him/ her. By documenting children behaviour, measuring children’s needs is easy. It allow to design further learning plan for children. For example 3 children playing with parts of aircraft toys and talking for much time help an observer to decide about children’s interest in airlines education along with their language, social and cognitive skills. Observer must be an unbiased person and avoid their personal interests and impression to assess needs of a child. Systematic observation should be;

  • Happen several times over a time period.
  • Designed to collect information about children from various types of sources including parents.
  • Designed to collect information about children from various types of context.

If teachers observe children they can know about the environment, curriculum, planning and strategies for teaching and can determine whether it need to be developed or not.

Assessment criteria 2.2- discuss how information from other agencies can contribute to the assessment of learning needs.

Information from other agencies can also contribute to the assessment of learning needs. It will help school to know about pros and cons of it. It enables a school to know perfectness of its progressing and needs. Information from other agencies also can be useful to know about of areas that need to be improved. It also informs about various types of different activities from other children in the community and can take precautionary system to avoid any wrong done in learning and play for future. Performances of other agencies also lead to motivation for teacher. Exchanging information between agencies can lead to amalgamation of agencies to work as safeguard for children and their learning. It can protect children from maltreatment, maintaining equality in children’s development, proper curriculum for learning process and take step that will help children to get the best outcomes. Professionals from agencies can analyse each other’s information to develop a much broader and effective learning activities set or proper curriculum too. For example information from agency where only children with special need learn can be useful for children with special needs in another agency. These are some ways agencies information exchange can develop learning and play process of education for children. It is responsibility of agencies, authorities and parents in the community to work together to bring best outcomes of children for further national development through education.

Assessment criteria 3.1- explain how to plan curriculum activities which promote learning.

Curriculum activities are predesigned set of activities for learning of children step by step. Flawless curriculum can provide a child with best education he/ she needed and promote learning. Curriculum can be planned in various ways according to culture and social needs and experience of adults. But curriculum planned to promote learning must include following;

The arts:

Children need to be encouraged and stimulated by adult persons to reveal their thought, ideas and develop their creativity. Opportunity to share these ideas and thought via various types of arts such as writing, music, drama, dance, painting, design and other activities are very important.

Language development:

Language development is to improve children’s basic language skill and improve them to communicate with other. Language is the only media to share, gather and learn. So language development is a crucial part for development.

Mathematical knowledge:

Developing mathematical knowledge in early stage is important. Mathematical knowledge develops children’s logical skill and need for day to day life problem solving skill. Both indoors and outdoors activities should include this.

Personal, social and emotional development:

This is the utmost important education for children. This is about building their mental identity, values, norms, sustainable relationship, positive attitudes and finally for their well-being. Strong socio-personal and emotional development leads to success in other learning.

Physical development:

Physical play in outdoors or indoor develop physical strength and stamina of children and let them physically fit beside developing balance and body controlling and awareness about surroundings.

Others thing need to be include in curriculum to promote learning are diversity, goals and objectives, routines, family involvement in learning process etc.

Assessment criteria 3.2- assess the effectiveness of different approaches to planning learning opportunities.

Whole school approach:

Whole school approach is based on the idea that, every child has the ability to learn. Whole school practices is the method of diversified learning with high sets of measurement tool for achievements, learning and outcomes and teaching according to achievements of each students. This system includes behaviour support and learning support that need these. In a whole approach system teaching system s diversified with differentiate teaching style according to learners’ needs. Teachers teach here in 2 groups; focused teaching for student with normal achievement pace and intensives teaching for few students who need extra care.

Integrated teaching approach:

It’s a combination of play and learning guided by either elder person where adult people are intentionally involved with children in playing and learning or child directed play. Child directed play is learning process lead by children’s interest of exploring things. Children are able to learn by themselves but in this approach adults increase children’s learning by intentional engagement.

Assessment criteria 3.3- consider methods of involving parents and other professional in reviewing assessments and plans.

No specific methods are available of involving parents and other professional in reviewing assessments and plans. It happens in numerous ways. Professional and parents involvement in reviewing assessments helps to understand assessments results in a better way and to create more perfect plans for learning.

Family centred system:

Parents also can assess children’s behaviour and other activities. Observing only activities in school can’t provide better result. Children’s behaviour and interaction in society and community is important too, that can be assessed by parents and professionals in home.

Working together:

Another better way for parents, school and professional is to work together to assess behaviour of children and create plans for further learning. They can set standards for assessing by their experience and viewpoint and create plans. This assessment and planning method is more fruitful than any other.


School authority also can communicate with parents and professional as needs to increase effectiveness of learning. Communicating them with assessment process and vital standards will bring proper result and plan.

Advocacy and decision making:

Advocacy by parents and professional in decision making process by using information from assessment can helpful too. School authority can take suggestion, guidelines and necessary step to make assessment and plans more successful.

Community collaboration:

Community collaboration by school with professional and parents can be great resulting methods. Collaboration with community let school and professional know more about activities and behaviour of children outside the school. That helps in assessment and planning.

Assessment criteria 4.1- analyse the key issues in ensuring that assessment are objective and valid.

Key principles for an assessment to be are validity, reliability, practicability and equitable and fair. Assessments procedures and process should be in standard way that can be reliable. Unbiased and regular practicability of assessment procedures is important also. These make an assessment objective. But to be valid there are 6 more key issues and they are,

  • Content and standards: enough time should be taken to familiarise assessor with the units and their needs. This help to determine knowledge and skills need to assess.
  • Create an assessment plan: assessment plan need to be created in this step.
  • Considering learning stage of candidate along with assessment criteria.
  • Choosing assessment method: it is very important issue. Method should be supportive to learning, capable of collecting evidence, providing chance for combination of assessment.
  • Developing an assessment: assessment methods, standards and other criteria determined here.
  • Determining acceptable evidence for the assessment: evidence of developing learning needs should be determine in this stage.

Assessment criteria 4.2- reflect on the role of the practitioner in meeting children’s learning needs.

Practitioner plays an important role in early learning of children with relevant curriculum. Practitioner must act properly and need to be productive to carry on their role to fulfil learning needs. Their roles are described below;

  • Practitioners have to be capable of understanding curriculum for children education to implement them.
  • They have to understand the importance of physical, intellectual, emotional and social knowledge needed for children.
  • They should ensure security and value for every child equally without considering any discrimination.
  • Practitioner and parents must have to work together to increase confidence of children.
  • Practitioners have to help children to overcome their disadvantages.
  • Positive relationship by practitioner with children and parents create an effective learning environment where children can feel safe and sound.
  • Practitioner should engage children in different kinds of activities designed and lead by them.
  • They need to be able to communicate with children appropriately.
  • They need to take purposeful activity and proper intervention to engage children in learning process.
  • At last, education to be productive and effective needs high care by practitioners.


Various types of theoretical approaches used and being used in learning process of children. They were developed time to time and have effective influences in play and learning activities. Combining these theoretical approaches with philosophical approaches in play and learning can be more successful. These approaches affect play and learning and planning of play and learning. Observation method of assessment is one of the best methods to assess learning needs of children for future planning of learning. Information of other agencies is useful in case of planning developed learning plan. Play and learning activities in any school run according to a curriculum. A curriculum must be planned in ways that promote learning. Integrated approaches can be effective one to plan learning opportunities. Parents and professional involvements give different dimension to plan of play and learning. Their evaluation and opinion helps to develop a more productive and effective learning plan. For that, assessments of children need to be valid and objective and practitioners have to works perfectly for education of children needed to be effective in all sector of nation.


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