Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Playing with Roles


Tuesday 30 May 2017

The complexity of children’s play continues to leave me with many questions. Recently, I was visiting my friend, and her curious 2-year-old who has begun to show an interest in doctors and patients.

On this day, she ran excitedly across the sitting room, and suddenly, progressed into a slow walk with both hands on her tummy. Her head was down as she gazed across the room towards me. Her voice lowered, and she whispered ‘Me not well’. Following her lead, I concernedly repeated ‘oh, you’re not well, what will we do?’. The conversation continued to her needing ‘medicine’. When asked, what did that look like, she scurried to the play kitchen and improvised with the babies’ bottle. Saying in a low tone ‘Me sick, me need medicine’, she handed me the bottle, and lay on the ground in a curled position. Following her cue, I knelt beside her and gave her the ‘medicine’.

In the next moment, I shared with her something which we are all familiar with. A smile. A glisten in her eye. And a look of ‘you know I am not sick, but something is happening here’. Dr Carmel Brennan speaks of this as the ‘I know, you know, I know moment’, or the shared meaning (intersubjectivity). This moment allowed for her to have a shared understanding of doctors and patients. It allowed her to share her experience, and understanding of what it means. In that moment, she became playful. We have all experienced this moment, whether we have drunk a cup of tea from a plastic cup, heard the crying doll, or ran from the scary dinosaur chasing us outside.

Aistear (2009) reminds us, play is at the centre of each child’s journey, and it is within this wondrous world which children bring their own culture, background interests and experiences. Each time she engages, the play is meaningful and relevant to her. And it is guided by her emotions, feelings and imagination. Maria Aarts believes through naming a child’s initiatives, we are affirming they have good play ideas. We are meeting the child where they are at, and positively encouraging what it is the child wants to play.


From this experience, it has reminded me to slow down even more. Slow down when listening to children’s verbal cues. Slowing down, and waiting for the cue to enter their world of play. And slowing down, and meeting the child where they are at regarding their experiences, understandings and interests.

Have you noticed how children enter the play frame in your settings?  How they draw us in to their play ideas and how important it is to give time for the play idea to develop.


For similar themes read our previous blog posts on "Capturing the Wonder of Childhood" and "How slowing down builds better curriculum".

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

playleader(1) primary education(1) documentation(4) transitions(10) Independence(1) Facebook(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Cognitive development(1) Queues(1) Penguins(1) dining(1) preschools(1) Children's Book Club(1) Imagination(3) CIT(1) Valentine's Day(3) College(1) trust(4) Small World Play(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Advocacy(1) Patterns(1) Plants(1) AsIAm(2) Pobal(1) Environment(2) Funding(1) code of ethics(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) Mental Health(4) EECERA(1) aistear blog(4) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Mixed age groups(3) research(8) Mud kitchens(1) Budget 2020(1) Autism(4) Trick or treat(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Confident(1) Pre-School Services(1) environments(2) Study Trip(1) learning bias(1) Anxiety(2) Support(1) routine(2) Online Research Symposium(3) First 5(1) Return to Work Training(1) Creativity(7) guardian(1) Behaviour(3) Wesco(1) Music(3) built environments(1) pablo(1) Fantasy play(1) Professionalisation(5) Easter(1) Reggio Emilia(2) scientific and artistic processes(1) Primary School(3) listening(1) quarantine(2) Childcare(3) Rich Documentation(1) National Annual Awards 2020(1) Sweets(1) quarantine kids(1) Qualifications(1) ELC(1) Policy(2) Confidence(1) Self Help Skills(1) Positivity(1) youdoodle(1) Trade union(1) EECERA 2016(1) Obesity(1) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Shoes(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Little Buddies(1) Treasure(1) Interests(1) Children and families(2) Self-Esteem(1) Leadership for INClusion in the Early Years(1) Reggio Children Network(1) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) timekeeping skills(1) conference(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Frosty the Snowman(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) friendships(1) child led(1) Spiders(1) Mantra(1) Elders(1) outdoor environment(1) annual conference(1) play stories(2) meals(3) Budget 2018(1) stories(3) Annual Conference 2017(2) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) Opportunities(1) MECPI(1) Inter-generational(2) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) Return to Work(1) Giraffe(2) Role play(1) UD(1) Story(2) UNICEF report(1) Unesco(1) Albert Einstein(1) Settling in(4) National Early Childhood Research Conference(2) UK Government(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) Exercise(1) Snack Time(1) Siolta blog(8) Impact(1) Smiles(1) Sculptures(1) phone apps(1) COVID-19(18) Plastic(1) food(1) Scéalta Book Review(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Document Learning(1) supportive environments(2) Feeding(1) early year’s classrooms(1) family time(1) Learning through Storytelling(2) Children's Research Network(2) LINC Programme(1) developing motor skills(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) UNCRC(2) Emergent Curriculum(1) Counting(1) dogs(1) Horizon 2020(1) Children's Voice(1) Graduate(1) Competent(1) Seas Suas(1) Infectious diseases(1) Norway(2) feisty(1) Kindness(1) Research Seminar(1) Academic Skills(1) Glitter(2) Maynooth University(2) Xbox(1) behavioural science(1) Aistear(132) Pretend Play(1) Through the looking glass(1) pets(1) HR(1) development(9) natural environment(2) Research and Professional Learning(1) Magnavacchi(1) CPD(1) gender stereotype(1) science week(2) early childhood(1) grandchild(1) Snakes(1) Care routines(1) Early Years Educators(3) Scents(1) baby room(1) Rituals(1) outdoor space(3) educating(1) Human Resources(1) Academics(1) The Jelly King(1) DCYA(6) Universal Design(2) Affordability(1) Challenges(1) Investment(2) respect(5) partnership(1) Child mental health(1) early years settings(1) Skillnet(1) Whole Group(1) democratic citizens(1) Inspiring Practice(1) Irish guidelines(1) New Appointments(1) Titles(1) child-centric(1) Engineering Ireland(1) Kilkenny(1) Eritrea(1) Maria Montessori(1) Grief(1) Awards(2) Research Conference 2019(1) creche(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) National Pyjama Day(1) Self-regulation(1) Visitors(1) Laugh(1) Reading Time(2) Arithmetic(1) Exploring(1) healthy eating policies(1) Irish(1) Workplace Relations(3) memories(1) curiosity(3) Oireachtas(1) Liz Kerrins(1) code of professional responsibility(1) SAC(1) reading(6) First 5 strategy(1) ECEC Setting(2) COVID-19 crisis(1) Consent(1) Learning Journal(2) Inclusion(4) Early Childhood Ireland(11) Nonverbal(1) Mo Scéal(1) life long learning(1) Reflective Practice(1) Europe(1) Recycling(2) dolly parton library(1) MA(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Early Learning and Care(2) COVID-19 landscape(1) child safeguarding(1) reopening ireland(1) Cork(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) Prexit(1) outdoor play(7) GDPR(1) social science(1) Photographs(1) Biting(1) Learning journals(1) Infection Control(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) worries(1) Change(1) play(37) UN(1) Children(8) Large Doll Play(1) Ariana Pucci(1) Fire Safety(1) play pods(2) Iceland(2) Síolta(141) STEAM(1) Buddies(1) Kerry(1) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) interacting(2) doodle den(1) Certificate(1) Frustrations(1) dining experiences(1) Leprechauns(1) Educators(2) early life(1) Celebrate(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) racism(1) Favouritism(1) Margy Whalley(1) Supernanny(1) Bereavement(2) CCTV(1) Maternity Leave(1) Playschool(1) journey(1) Meal time(1) Thinking(1) Regulation 23(1) relationships(18) Visual Impairment(1) Flowers(1) Nordic model(1) Our Little Seed(1) Upcycling(1) emotional environment(2) toddlers(3) upskilling(1) childcare services(1) Intention(1) ICBN(1) Your place(1) Family wall(1) Relaxation(1) Wonder(1) emotions(2) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) educarer(1) National Holiday(1) Youtube Series(1) homeschool(1) Sleep(1) Map(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) Meet the Members(1) Early Years(1) Identity(5) Covid response(2) International Narratives(1) Diversity(2) Buddy Bench(1) School Age Childcare(2) Motor neuron disease(1) Effect of Lockdown(1) Japan(1) responsive relationships(1) Women(1) refugees(1) Loving Relationships(2) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) Shapes(2) Maths Week Ireland(1) QRF(1) communication(4) Book Review(1) GoToMeeting app(1) keezy(1) Inspections(1) Line-ups(1) coronavirus(1) Nutrition(1) Scéalta Blog(106) Covid-19 lockdown(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) Administrative Burden(1) ReCreate(2) Craft(1) Fee Play(1) early childhood educator(2) Running(1) World book day(1) Adoption(1) Trade Unions(1) Staff Motivation(1) Care-giving routines(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) online training(1) collaboration(1) mushrooms(1) Loss(1) community(5) Mayo(1) Masterclass(2) Participation(2) maternity health(1) movement behaviours(1) Looking Forward(1) Montessori(3) Treasure Chest(1) NAEYC(1) Family(1) Thanks(1) Event Guide(1) Appreciation(1) Time Out(1) ECCE(7) Nuturing interactions(1) Inspired Practice Awards(1) learners(1) Graduation(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) Digital Devices(1) Mealtimes(1) Summer(2) purpose(1) TRAP(1) blog(60) Santa(2) Belonging(3) Performance Management(1) structure(1) Celebrations(4) Training(3) learning(19) animals(2) Dolly Partons Imagination Library(1) Death(2) early years learning(1) Decisions(1) Kids Own(1) Sport(1) early childhood ireland research(1) dublin(2) Mount Everest(1) NCCA(4) Interaction(1) science(3) Learning Stories(9) Sustainable(1) National Awards 2019(1) mental health problems(1) Childhood(2) Mindfulness(3) peer group(1) Awards 2018(3) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) keep in touch(1) Snacks(1) education system(1) Maynooth(1) role playing(1) Social Skills(1) Empathy(1) eating(1) emotional well-being(1) EM Standing(1) ERASMUS+(3) under 3's(3) Inspirational(2) Pedagogy(2) Traditions(2) Exclusion(1) Creative(1) Super Shed Stories(2) Breathing(2) scéalta(61) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) Workforce(1) Wilenski(1) RTE Investigates(1) Winter(1) University(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) risk assessment(1) annual awards(1) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Fabric(1) parents(7) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) bonds(1) Learning Story(1) SPICE Framework(1) Leargas(1) Time(1) UK(1) Italy(1) Awards 2019(1) Reopening Childcare(1) Light table(1) Painting(1) children’s learning(1) Trigonometry(1) Gratitude(1) conversations(1) Magda Gerber(1) Maths(6) Child Care(1) Home Corner(1) art of the relationship(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Health(2) reopening(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Degree(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) preschool settings(1) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) social media(2) Capable(1) National Research Conference 2019(1) awards 2020(1) apps for children(1) Online(1) The Lullaby Book(1) Leadership(1) Childhood Development Initiative(1) nutritional learning(1) Equality(1) Love(3) Wrapping paper(1) Budget 2019(2) Iraq(1) COVID-19 Reopening(2) staying connected(1) linc(2) Sequins(1) Reggio(1) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Arlene Forster(1) STEM(3) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Sustainability(3) multi-generational community(1) show and tell(1) overhear(1) European Project(1) Lego(2) democracy(1) Engineering(3) iOS(1) Twitter(1) learning hub(2) Covid19 crisis(1) United Nations(1) Mathematicians(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Christmas Creativity(2) Storytelling(8) Teamwork(1) TUSLA(1) curriculum(7) planning(1) play pod(1) Awards Night(1) Technology(3) preschool(4) Seanchaí(1) Design(1) Names(1) Thank you(1) Malaguzzi(1) Proceedings Journal(1) AIM(2) Limerick(1) Tuscan Approach(2) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) INTO(1) continual professional development(1) children development(1) man up(1) Arts(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Communications(1) subject knowledge(1) Performing(1) Mark Twain(1) Engagement(1) COVID(3) Growing up Outdoors(2) Pobal sector profile(1) june29(1) DES Inspection(1) E.coli(1) gender bias(1) ECIAwards20(1) Early Years Education(2) IGL(1) Covid pandemic(3) Sessional service(1) risky play(2) ECEC(4) Department of Education and Skills(1) outdoors(4) story time(2) Early Childhood Education(2) Gardening(1) Anthony Semann(1) Routines(2) Rising to the Challenge(2) Quality(4) Recycle(1) lockdown(1) Well-Being(10) Digital(1) worldbookday(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) an post(1) PIP(1) women in research(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) education(2) risk(2) Croatia(1) Inspired Practice Award(6) Laughter(1) Dance(1) Community involvement(1) Magic(1) Blocks(1) Looking Back(1) Art(6) presentation skills(1) Yoga(1) Vertical grouping(1) Kindness Challenge(1) doodle families(1) Síolta QAP(1) play therapy(1) Exit interview(1) World Health Organisation(1) value(1) TOY Programme(1) research submissions(1) Jenga(1) Traffic Lights(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Decision Making(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) christmas(9) social media policy(1) Inter-generational learning(2) bloom app(1) Culture(2) Vietnam(1) Weather(1) Communicating(1) Identity and Belonging(4) Brain(1) Builders(1) RIE philosphy(1) partnership with families(1) Touch(1) Socioemotional development(1) experience(1) babies(7) European Early Childhood Education Research Association(2) budget(1) Orla Kenny(1) Maths Week(1) imotion(1) Halloween(2) Games(2) Party(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Body Language(1) books(5) Children's Rights(3) Ceremony(1) Pen green(1) ears(1) Stress(2) Book Club(2) Afghanistan(1) Employee(1) Wendy Lee(4) Exploratory Play(1) inspiring interactions(1) listen(1) Engineers Week(2) Workplace well-being(1) National Awards 2018(2) Potential(1) Interactions(3) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) early years research(3) Playdough(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) San Miniato(4) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) Window(1) Syria(1) Growing up in Ireland(3) Building Resilience(1) child-centred approach(1) Drawing(2)


Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine