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MHBK015-c03_p39-53.qxd 4/13/10 7:28 AM Page 44 Aptara

Brooker, Liz, and Suzy Edwards. Challenging Play, McGraw-Hill Education, 2010. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ubc/detail.action?docID=771397. Created from ubc on 2022-10-21 05:48:59.

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LEARNING TO PLAY, OR PLAYING TO LEARN? 45

All three observations were undertaken in the course of studies of chil- dren’s transitions (Brooker 2002, 2008). The first two snapshots occurred in the pre-school environment of a London children’s centre offering early education in a free-play setting for children from 6 months to 5 years, as well as family and community support services. The third case study was located in the ‘reception’ classroom of a primary school in an English provincial town, in which ‘play-based learning’ was directed towards planned curriculum objectives. The parents and teachers of all three children were interviewed in the course of these studies, and their per- spectives highlight the different ways that play and learning may be interpreted by adults from different backgrounds.

Davey appropriates the outdoor environment

Davey, aged 2 years, was observed in his fifth week in the toddler room of a children’s centre. Until recently he had spent most of his time, in his dad’s company, in a small flat with no access to the outdoors, so that the encounter with an open-plan environment full of strange adults and children presented him with many new learning challenges and a range of unfamiliar cultural activities – climbing and building, painting and modelling, music groups, malleable materials, and simply digging out- doors. The observation was as follows:

In the garden

He is pushing a very heavy wooden cart, making a real effort to push, then stop and re-direct the steering, then move forward again. He looks in to check the contents: two paint brushes; moves forward a bit further then removes the brushes from the truck and walks purposefully to the back of the garden to the shed, which he then ‘paints’ with the brushes. Turns round, beaming with confidence and self-importance, and addresses other children (apparently to tell them what he is doing), point- ing to the shed wall. Moves away a few feet to ‘paint’ the low posts round the sand pit, and then walks away to the slide.

Stands at bottom of slide and ‘paints’ with brushes, using a damp patch on the slide surface to pick up a bit of moisture and spread it. ‘Cleans’ the brushes carefully with his fingers. Runs to the ladder on the slide and goes up carefully with a brush in each hand, so he can’t hold on to the rails; gets on to the small plat- form at the top, sits there and then leans down to ‘paint’ the top part of the slide with his damp brush.

Decides to go back down the ladder but has even more diffi- culty getting on to the ladder and down it with a brush in each

MHBK015-c03_p39-53.qxd 4/13/10 7:28 AM Page 45 Aptara

Brooker, Liz, and Suzy Edwards. Challenging Play, McGraw-Hill Education, 2010. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/ubc/detail.action?docID=771397. Created from ubc on 2022-10-21 05:48:59.

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w -H

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hand (uses his elbows to wedge himself against the rails). Returns to the ground, walks round and ‘paints’ the slide again from the bottom e

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