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Introduction The pedagogy of play can be hard to understand and part of the reason for this is it’s so difficult to explain how children learn by play because play isn’t simply; it is complex. Each child begins their early childhood education with a set of skills and prior knowledge that is influenced by their family, culture and past experiences (Fellows &Oakley, 2010).
The past knowledge should become the foundation for developing an understanding of scientific concepts (Duschl, Schweingruber & Shouse, 2007). Children are naturally inquisitive, creative and aware of the world around them (Campbell & Jobling, 2012).
development tool and an effective way to teach children scientific concepts while using their prior knowledge (Preston, Mules, Baker & Frost, 2007). Learning science through play shows children that science is useful and enjoyable and is a significant aspect of the real world (Bulunuz, 2013). This essay will review teaching science through play, theorists who support play and the way in which the Australian curriculum and EYLF support play pedagogy.
Science and Play Play pedagogy is a context for learning through which children organise and make sense of their social worlds, as they engage actively with people, objects and representations. Research shows that early childhood educators must use play effectively in order for children to develop contextualised knowledge about science (Bulunuz, 2013). Educators should base science experiences based on prior knowledge and interests demonstrated by the children (Moyles, 2012).
Educators must acknowledge the importance of play as a platform for learning and practising the basic process skills of science (Howitt, Morris & Colville, 2007). Through play the children are learning at their own pace and children can repeat, rehearse and refine skills, displaying what they do know and practising what they are beginning to understand. According to Campbell & Jobling (2012) there are numerous forms of play. One of which is free play.
Free play is used by children to spontaneously react to their environment, and is determined by their interests. Children’s interest in the world around them usually begins with their observations, whereby they see, hear, smell, touch something that captures their interest and encourages them to explore. In order to develop contextualised knowledge about science children need to move on from free play and be involved in guided play (Campbell & Jobling, 2012).