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Title: Protecting and extending Froebelian principles in practice: exploring the importance of learning through play
Authors: Hoskins, K
Smedley, S
Keywords: Froebel;Early years educators;Learning through play;Practice
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: SAGE publications
Citation: Journal of Early Childhood Research
Abstract: The current early years emphasis on ensuring young children achieve ‘school readiness’ has contributed to a context of academic pressure in early years settings in England. The debat-ed term ‘school readiness’ is vaguely expressed in England’s early years curriculum as ‘Chil-dren reaching a good level of development in the prime areas of literacy and mathematics’ (EYFS, 2014, 2017). Opportunities for play, self-directed and adult initiated, are impacted by the academic pressures created by the English government’s demands for young children to achieve school readiness (EYFS, 2014, 2017), which can dominate and determine the activi-ties on offer in early years settings (Bradbury, 2014). The possibility to enact Froebelian ap-proaches to learning, through child initiated play, are further marginalized by the current early years policy agenda. A key issue relates to Ofsted, who judge settings primarily in relation to the quality of the academic environment provided and successful academic and developmental outcomes achieved by all children. In our recent research project we sought to understand how much capacity early years practitioners perceived they had to enact Froebelian principles in their daily practice and the importance they attached to Froebel’s notion of learning through play. We interviewed 33 early years practitioners in six settings, working with preschool children aged between 2-4 years, about their understanding of Froebel’s concept of learning through play, the space, physical and temporal, they had to encourage and enable play and the challenges of sup-porting children to learn through play. We explored the participants’ theoretical under-standings of Froebel’s work and ideas in their education and training pathways. Our data highlights that many practitioners followed Froebel’s approach, but did not overtly name and identify their practice as Froebelian.
ISSN: 1476-718X
Appears in Collections:Dept of Education Research Papers

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