Jeremy outlines the 6 ways that we use play to learn how to work together. Although, the study was centreed around 2-5 year olds, I think it is quite easy to extrapolate the learnings to the junior youth (those youth, typically at junior high level):
Play is a serious business….
- Unoccupied play: the child is relatively stationary and appears to be performing random movements with no apparent purpose. A relatively infrequent style of play.
- Solitary play: the child is are completely engrossed in playing and does not seem to notice other children. Most often seen in children between 2 and 3 years-old.
- Onlooker play: child takes an interest in other children’s play but does not join in. May ask questions or just talk to other children, but the main activity is simply to watch.
- Parallel play: the child mimics other children’s play but doesn’t actively engage with them. For example they may use the same toy.
- Associative play: now more interested in each other than the toys they are using. This is the first category that involves strong social interaction between the children while they play.
- Cooperative play: some organisation enters children’s play, for example the playing has some goal and children often adopt roles and act as a group.
He concludes with:
Unlike Jean Piaget who saw children’s play in primarily cognitive developmental terms, Parten emphasised the idea that learning to play is learning how to relate to others.
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