Searching for the meaning of play

Vivian Gussin Paley observes:

“We can approach the subject of play in more than one way. We can be guided by the aims and structures of ‘play scholarship,’ dealing with the theoretical, methodological, and ethical issues in rigorous, experimental ways, adding much of value to our knowledge of play. But I search for the meaning of play along more dramatic paths, trying to capture the shape of play along more dramatic paths, trying to capture the shape of a scene before its image is blurred. The superheroes and lost princesses who play in the doll corner and block area refuse to be classified, charted, and diagnosed. ‘Let’s pretend’ turns us into storytellers and actors, on a stage where disguises are changed without notice, to suit every altered condition and impulse.
Do children make up their stories in order to play? Or do they play in order to put themselves into a story? Perhaps the secret lies in another direction. What if children play and invent stories because it is the way to distinguish themselves from all other individuals, even as they reach for common ground and community?” (p.xii)

Ref: (italics in original) Vivian Gussin Paley (2010) The boy on the beach: building community through play. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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