Scéalta – The Early Childhood Ireland Blog

< Back to Blog

Stick to play

By: DR. CARMEL BRENNAN

Tuesday 15 August 2017

This week it was really encouraging to hear about a package of sensory play equipment that will be made available free to settings, from the DCYA.  Could this herald another step on our Aistear journey, another step in our national thinking. A shift from talking about literacy and numeracy and giving children an early start in school, to recognising that early childhood is that special time when children need to play and find their way to becoming experts in how to live well in the world around them;  how to be experts in the valued skills of community and how to be important and respected by the significant people in their lives. Right from the beginning children get busy intensely observing what is going on – trying their hand at every activity – and reading the meaning in the bodies, heads and hearts of the people around them.  Children (and parents) have a particularly clever device for doing this – and it’s play.  You might find my 2nd blog ‘The art of play is the art of living life to the full’ on the Arts in Education portal interesting:

www.artsineducation.ie/en/2017/07/27/guest-blogger-carmel-brennan-head-of-practice-early-childhood-ireland-blog-2

 

The aim of the new sensory toy scheme is to support play and the inclusion of children with special needs. For me, the reference to toys immediately gets me thinking. First question: What do we mean by toys?  The most popular toy in the world is the common stick, followed by the ball, followed by string – things that are found or made from things that are found.  The stick floats in the water, makes the sounds of a drum stick and can be attached to anything as a carrier. (And there’s so much pleasure in finding them -I know this now from my Grandson, Donal). The stick becomes a utensil or tool, a goal post or a weapon, the frame for a tent or the spine of a doll or a horse. It can be almost anything.  So please be reminded that nothing beats a toy that is sensory, flexible, grows with imagination and creativity and can be used to symbolise multiple shared meanings.

 

And then…What do we mean by play? For all of us this is an opportunity to rethink how we provide for play in a group setting. I think there are three kinds of play that we want to prioritise – physical play, pretend play and fantasy play – not necessarily separate types of play but, depending on which element is foregrounded, they often require different kinds of spaces, equipment and support. They are all play types that stretch our bodies, our shared ways of seeing the world and our imaginations.  They involve skills, roles, real life scenarios and new possible selves and worlds. They all involve story construction – some more obvious than others. Adding narrative makes every activity more sustainable, collaborative and engaging for children – so even the highly sensory experience of tobogganing down a hill is made all the more interesting when we add story and pretend we’re on a mission of some sort.

Watch out for my next Scéalta post (September 5th) where I explore these types of play in more detail.

 

0 comments Comments

Leave a Reply

Please Log In to comment:

Mantra(1) Affordability(1) Magnavacchi(1) annual conference(1) educating(1) Childhood(1) child-centric(1) food(1) Obesity(1) Interests(1) eating(1) Lego(2) Exclusion(1) Technology(3) Winter(1) science(3) play therapy(1) NAEYC(1) Annual Conference 2019(1) bloom app(1) Mayo(1) LINC Award for Leadership in Inclusion(2) Positivity(1) Building Resilience(1) Traffic Lights(1) planning(1) Santa(2) Mixed age groups(2) Communications(1) Norway(2) Frosty the Snowman(1) conversations(1) Upcycling(1) Early Childhood Ireland National Awards(2) Academics(1) Super Shed Stories(2) respect(5) outdoor play(6) toddlers(3) TRAP(1) Reggio Children Network(1) reopening ireland(1) Malaguzzi(1) Síolta(120) Universal Design(2) Environment(2) Meet the Members(1) NCCA(3) documentation(4) Bereavement(2) Plants(1) educarer(1) Japan(1) Special Needs Assistants(1) show and tell(1) Children's Rights(3) christmas(9) Self-regulation(1) Maths(5) Exit interview(1) Consent(1) Inter-generational learning(2) Death(2) Early Childhood Ireland(4) San Miniato(4) Youtube Series(1) EM Standing(1) Celebrations(4) Snakes(1) Maynooth(1) Horizon 2020(1) Self Help Skills(1) STEM(3) Reopening Childcare(1) supportive environments(2) reopening(1) Qualifications(1) E.coli(1) Minister Katherine Zappone(1) keep in touch(1) Budget 2018(1) gender stereotype(1) CCTV(1) Aistear Siolta Practice Guide(1) SPICE Framework(1) environments(1) childcare services(1) youdoodle(1) Ariana Pucci(1) The Play and Learning in the Early Years(1) Primary School(2) Time Out(1) Sustainability(3) listening(1) Our Little Seed(1) value(1) National Awards 2018(2) Care routines(1) blog(36) SAC(1) Routines(2) Prexit(1) Twitter(1) Exercise(1) Culture(2) Belonging(3) Engineering Ireland(1) Craft(1) healthy eating policies(1) Trick or treat(1) preschool(4) Early Years(1) imotion(1) Emergent Curriculum(1) Event Guide(1) Early Childhood Ireland’s National Early Childhood Research Conference 2019(1) grandchild(1) Staff Motivation(1) COVID-19 crisis(1) Buddy Bench(1) Line-ups(1) Smiles(1) Covid pandemic(1) Limerick(1) Albert Einstein(1) Children's Research Network(1) journey(1) Vivian Gussin Paley(1) Snack Time(1) Impact(1) overhear(1) RIE philosphy(1) New Appointments(1) Administrative Burden(1) Time(1) Annual Conference 2017(2) Builders(1) transitions(10) ICBN(1) Pedagogical leaders(1) Study Trip(1) Empathy(1) early years research(2) Mealtimes(1) Loss(1) Meal time(1) phone apps(1) Identity(5) AsIAm(2) Yoga(1) code of ethics(1) Participation(2) Reggio Emilia(1) Change(1) TOY Programme(1) Through the looking glass(1) Child Care(1) Budget 2019(2) Appreciation(1) Reading Time(1) Pobal(1) Sustainable(1) baby room(1) HR(1) RTE Investigates(1) Certificate(1) Sequins(1) science week(2) budget(1) Interactions(2) Valentine's Day(3) parents(6) Child mental health(1) Painting(1) Recycling(2) routine(2) Early Childhood Care and Education(2) Leprechauns(1) Independence(1) InspireMe.ie(1) Educators(2) early childhood educator(2) Masterclass(2) Effect of Lockdown(1) Italy(1) European Project(1) Investment(2) Growing up Outdoors(1) Celebrate(1) june29(1) Universal Design Guidelines(1) Competent(1) stories(3) books(4) Wilenski(1) Quality(4) aistear blog(3) early years learning(1) The Jelly King(1) Map(1) Settling in(4) refugees(1) collaboration(1) Children's Voice(1) Pedagogy(1) listen(1) Story(1) Rich Documentation(1) Aistear Siolta in Action(1) Learning Story Awards(2) Access and Inclusion Model(2) Online(1) Decision Making(1) learning bias(1) dublin(2) risk assessment(1) Graduate(1) Síolta Quality Assurance programme(1) structure(1) Giraffe(2) Siolta blog(8) behavioural science(1) Pre-School Services(1) Awards 2018(3) Treasure Chest(1) Arithmetic(1) outdoors(3) IGL(1) Imagination(3) Reflective Practice(1) ears(1) social media(1) Laughter(1) Department of Children and Youth Affairs(2) Arlene Forster(1) Eritrea(1) Maynooth University(2) Sculptures(1) PIP(1) Scéalta Blog(99) code of professional responsibility(1) Confident(1) family time(1) babies(7) Digital(1) Thinking(1) ReCreate(2) Fee Play(1) Intention(1) role playing(1) Identity and Belonging(4) risky play(2) Engineers Week(2) curiosity(3) Names(1) Early Learning and Care(1) Communicating(1) Workplace well-being(1) emotional environment(2) Adoption(1) Workforce(1) trust(4) racism(1) National Childcare Scheme(1) Leadership(1) School Age Childcare(1) interacting(2) Creativity(4) Adverse Childhood Experiences(1) College(1) Behaviour(3) Book Review(1) Vertical grouping(1) purpose(1) animals(2) Interaction(1) Rituals(1) Workplace Relations(3) University(1) Body Language(1) ERASMUS+(3) preschool settings(1) Family wall(1) Photographs(1) Engineering(3) Awards(2) responsive relationships(1) Whole Group(1) Inclusion(3) Frustrations(1) Nonverbal(1) Afghanistan(1) Autism(4) reading(5) Teamwork(1) Stress(2) Awards 2019(1) Rising to the Challenge(2) Digital Devices(1) play stories(2) Covid19 crisis(1) Educator - Leader in Practice Award(1) experience(1) Laugh(1) feisty(1) Providing Leadership to the First 5(1) Sleep(1) Inter-generational(2) Educator Award - Leader in Practice(1) Budget 2020(1) Montessori & Early Childhood Professionals Ireland(1) CPD(1) play pods(1) Children(4) Oireachtas(1) ECEC(3) Party(1) Ceremony(1) Care-giving routines(1) life long learning(1) mental health problems(1) DCYA(5) communication(4) Grief(1) Halloween(2) Mount Everest(1) play(34) Awards Night(1) Home Corner(1) art of the relationship(1) Jillian van Turnhout(1) Infectious diseases(1) Trauma-Sensitive(1) Wesco(1) development(8) Children and families(1) Jenga(1) National Pyjama Day(1) Learning Stories(9) research(6) Role play(1) Liz Kerrins(1) Iceland(1) Iraq(1) Síolta QAP(1) INTO(1) Exploring and Thinking(1) dining experiences(1) ECCE(7) learners(1) Human Resources(1) pets(1) DES Inspection(1) Drawing(2) Inspired Practice Awards(1) Equality(1) Summer(1) Policy and Implementation Panel(1) Window(1) UN Sustainable Development Goals(1) mushrooms(1) Engagement(1) Visitors(1) Leaders in Practice(1) Inspections(1) Motor neuron disease(1) social science(1) Mental Health(3) MA(1) Plastic(1) early life(1) Light table(1) Hand Hygiene(2) Design(1) Little Buddies(1) Snacks(1) Weather(1) Trade union(1) Potential(1) Running(1) Music(3) iOS(1) Advocacy(1) AIM(2) Wendy Lee(3) Mindfulness(2) Toby Bears Camping Trip(1) First 5 transitions for children award(1) scéalta(40) Research and Professional Learning(1) Margy Whalley(1) Maternity Leave(1) Together Old and Young Programme(1) Inspirational(2) Growing up in Ireland(3) Family(1) CIT(1) Reggio(1) Irish guidelines(1) Orla Kenny(1) Titles(1) Sessional service(1) Visual Impairment(1) meals(3) National Holiday(1) Book Club(2) Easter(1) First 5 strategy(1) Dr. Emer Ring(1) education(2) Fantasy play(1) Flowers(1) Childcare Barometer 2018(1) General Data Protection Regulation(1) Thank you(1) Maths Week Ireland(1) Early Years Educators(3) Academic Skills(1) Mo Scéal(1) Health(2) Training(2) Gardening(1) primary education(1) risk(2) dining(1) Maria Montessori(1) Research Conference 2019(1) United Nations(1) Gratitude(1) children development(1) Policy(2) GoToMeeting app(1) bonds(1) Thanks(1) Xbox(1) man up(1) Kids Own(1) Treasure(1) Dance(1) EECERA 2016(1) Wonder(1) Pobal sector profile(1) Sociodramatic play(1) Kerry(1) Early Learning and Care Centres(1) Educator of the Year Award(3) Penguins(1) Storytelling(6) National Awards 2019(1) Community involvement(1) Deirdre Rogers(1) Glitter(2) World Health Organisation(1) Capable(1) Department of Education and Skills(1) Art(6) National Bereaved Children's Awareness Week(1) Your place(1) gender bias(1) Well-Being(9) Touch(1) Cognitive development(1) National Early Childhood Research Conference(1) play pod(1) Graduation(1) worries(1) Exploring(1) National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education(1) maternity health(1) Infection Control(1) Performance Management(1) Document Learning(1) Childcare(3) awards 2020(1) Nutrition(1) UD(1) Social Skills(1) developing motor skills(1) Supernanny(1) child-centred approach(1) Magic(1) The Lullaby Book(1) community(5) Magda Gerber(1) Partnership with Families Innovation Award(2) memories(1) St. Patrick's Day(1) Scents(1) Mathematicians(1) Socioemotional development(1) Degree(1) Dr Mary O'Kane(1) Self-Esteem(1) Learning journals(1) Employee(1) Wrapping paper(1) dogs(1) ELC(1) Traditions(2) Aistear(122) Playschool(1) research submissions(1) friendships(1) Confidence(1) emotions(2) Mud kitchens(1) Love(2) Leargas(1) Syria(1) Brain(1) Performing(1) UNCRC(2) Anxiety(2) Scéalta Book Review(1) GDPR(1) ECEC Setting(2) relationships(17) Trigonometry(1) Maths Week(1) Irish Childhood Bereavement Network(1) Research Seminar(1) UN(1) Favouritism(1) Facebook(1) Irish(1) Funding(1) Feeding(1) Learning Journal(2) Kilkenny(1) Sport(1) under 3's(3) Queues(1) Seas Suas(1) Fabric(1) Learning Story(1) Aldo Fortunati(4) Opportunities(1) Breathing(2) Biting(1) pablo(1) Relaxation(1) Cork Institute of Technology(1) continual professional development(1) Vietnam(1) conference(1) Blocks(1) Creative(1) Spiders(1) Shoes(1) Learning Stories Award(3) Diversity(1) Cork(1) COVID-19 Reopening(1) apps for children(1) National Council for Curriculum and Assessment(1) Decisions(1) learning(19) keezy(1) COVID-19(6) Shapes(1) Inspired Practice Award(5) Montessori(3) Minister for Children and Youth Affairs(1) Arts(1) story time(2) Games(1) Pen green(1) Christmas Creativity(2) movement behaviours(1) outdoor space(3) curriculum(5) Tuscan Approach(2) Playdough(1) lockdown(1) MECPI(1) Recycle(1) Mark Twain(1) Patterns(1) Challenges(1) Valerie Gaynor(1) linc(1) Equality & Inclusion Guidelines Training(1) Sweets(1) Trade Unions(1) staying connected(1) Support(1) Nuturing interactions(1) Professionalisation(5) Buddies(1) Irish Early Years Research & Practice Seminar 2018(1) First 5(1) Elders(1)

SIGN UP FOR BLOG UPDATES

SUBSCRIBE
Site maintained and developed by Cloud Nine