“As teachers of very young children it is important to recall memories of play so as to recognize the play that is presented by our youngest citizens.” ~ Adrienne Sansom (p.30)
Arguing for the importance of play and recognition of the connection between play and drama, Adrienne Sansom asks: “Can a new-found approach to play be fostered to appreciate the playful and intrinsic dimensions an embodied involvement in learning can bring as it once did during our childhoods?” (p.30)
Sansom also writes: “[The] ability to transform [an] object into something abstract (for example, a leaf becomes a plate, or a shoe becomes a phone) is exactly what the child does in his or her fictional world, thus creating a ‘metaphorical, transformational nature of representation’ (Parker-Rees, 1999, p.66).
this form of playful transformation provides access for the child to communicate in multiple ways using a diverse range of languages. The child is empowered to find alternative approaches to problem-solving, or to imagine what might or could be in a world where change is both inevitable and also essential. In other words the child can be an agent of change through understanding what could be possible.” (p.30)
“A young child’s investigating of the world in which he or she lives, is the basics of play, and where play occurs drama begins.” (p.27)
“Why is it practically universal to celebrate play on the part of young children… but not for the rest of us” ~ S Stinson (quoted p27 in Sansom)
“Swedish arts educator Lindqvist (2001) believes that ‘play ought to be considered as an interpretation of children’s experience in order to create meaning’ (as cited in Anttila, 2003, p.53). Accordingly, play becomes inextricably linked to children’s learning.” (p.27)
“Terminology such as imagination, discovery, curiosity, experimentation, excitement, inquisitiveness, anticipation, surprise, humour, joy, and the feeling of power are all notably evident as essential foundations for dramatic play or Child Drama. The necessary dualisms of love and hate, happiness and sadness, despair and hope are also present and pertinent to the process of drama when seen on a continuum of experience and predicated on moral courage and justice.” (p.28) [These last comments put me in mind of Kieran Egan‘s Imaginative approach to Education!]
“Play in a young child’s life is a fluid entity often shifting indiscernibly between real life and an imagined life that comes from within. Play manifests a deepened sense of motivation as the drive of inquiry and accomplishment through play are experienced by the child. Time often seemingly stands still, or moves at a different pace, when a child is absorbed in play. …More recently others have looked at play and its function as a motivator for learning. Anttila (2007) looks at ‘play as culture’ (p.875) exploring the primary and intensive nature of play, which is viewed as strongly embedded in aesthetics. She states that ‘[P]lay exists before culture and follows culture into the present day. It has always been a part of human interaction and all original human activities’ (Anttila, 2007, p.875).” (p.29)
“As an attitude play involves choice, freedom, intrinsic rewards, and heightened focus” ~ E Anttila (quoted p.29 Sansom; taken from Anttila, 2007, p875)
Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine) Adrienne Sansom (2008) Remembering Slade: Re-visiting the connection between very young children’s play and drama. The First Years 10(2); pp.26-30
Reference is to: Parker-Rees, R (1999) Protecting playfulness. In L Abott & H Moylett (Eds.) Early Education transformed (pp.61-72) London: Falmer Press.
Anttila, E (2003) A dream journey to the unknown: searching for dialogue in dance education. Helsinki, Finland: Theatre Academy
Anttila E (2007) Implications of the notion of child culture for research and practice in dance education. In L Bresler (Ed.) International handbook of research in arts education (pp865-879) Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.