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The Impact Of Play On The Affective Development Of Primary School Children

1537 words - 6 pages

In recent years there has been a shift in educational theory as more research is done about the positive effects play has on learning and development. One age group specifically that is helped by the use of play in their curriculum is primary school age children. This paper seeks to investigate the impact of fantasy and dramatic play on the development of identity in children ages 5-8. Erik “Erikson built his theory based on Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychosexual development and his own work with children and families. For Erikson, the social aspects that influence human development are more significant in shaping the identity of human personality” (Batra 2013). Erikson’s theories on play describe how it helps children develop their identities by focusing on the social and emotional skills that playing enables. Playing affects children’s self-concept and how they relate to people and the world around them and who they want to develop into.
According to Curtis, Erikson referred to the ages of 4-6 as being the play age for children. Play is a necessary “form of self-expression and …is an important vehicle for expressing feelings” (Curtis & & O’Hagan 2003). Play enables a child to achieve control and gain confidence in him or herself. It is a chance for children to develop a cognizance about space, themselves and others (Curtis & O’Hagan 2003). Fantasy play is crucial to this process as it gives the opportunity to role play through various life experiences, both real and imaginary. “Erikson stressed the importance of the life- rehearsal element in fantasy play, suggesting that it helps children come to terms with social issues such as loneliness, failure and disappointment” (Curtis & O’Hagan 2003). These problems exist in everyday life and children need to learn to deal with them at this stage while they can be dealt with in a less painful way through play so they are prepared for them in adulthood. “Children need to engage in solitary and cooperative play to develop their initiative and deal with their disappointments and failures” (Curtis & O’Hagan 2003). Role play helps them develop positive ways to counteract these negative social issues. “In many role play situations young children can develop emotional strength and stability, humour, and positive feelings about themselves” (Curtis & O’Hagan 2003). Being able to express emotions and cope with problems in a constructive way is an important ability for everyday interaction and identifying a sense of self.
Erikson felt play was necessary to children’s social education to help them develop emotionally, particularly to help them “decipher the scripts of life through play and widening social exchange” (Batra 2013). He felt that fantasy and dramatic play gave children a chance to experience cooperation and conflict and work through them. According to Batra for Erikson “the manner in which these conflicts are negotiated affects the development of the child’s system of emotional regulation during...

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