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Early Years Teaching: Model of Play Essay

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Updated: Jul 19th, 2021

Model of Play

Model of Play

The model of play is created using the metaphor of Milky Way. The Galactic Center is the Play, and the clustered starts are the major play concepts. The idea is that the Milky Way is made of enormous amounts of clustered starts, which is similar to the model of play that also consists of multiple different concepts critical for its existence. The main elements of the model are:

  • Child’s perspective – consideration of their interests and how they understand the role of play in their daily activities (Meade et al., 2013)
  • Play based setting – the creation of the context promoting imaginary play and helping children to achieve success
  • Culture – attention to cultural peculiarities of the participants and current needs
  • Early Years Framework – all children should have the best start in their life (The early years learning framework, n.d.)
  • Reflection – analysis of results to improve models to achieve better lesson planning
  • Sustained shared thinking – promotion of cooperation with peers to achieve better results (NQS, 2012)
  • Environment – the creation of appropriate contexts to improve outcomes

The given model can be used in the future job to facilitate the play for students to have better knowledge and skills achieved through this play.

Theoretical Discussion

The proposed model of play presupposes the utilization of theoretical ideas that guarantee its effectiveness and contribute to the achievement of positive outcomes. Regarding the modern tendencies in the educational sphere and the current needs of children, the sustained shared thinking and imaginary play frameworks are used to create the case and achieve the desired goal.

Sustained shared thinking (SST) is now considered a potent tool that might help to improve performance in early year settings. Its main peculiarity is the focus on the development of thinking processes by engaging in meaningful cooperation with peers and sharing ideas. The existence of an opportunity to make meaning together helps children to know more about the topic and involve in the play presupposing its further investigation and analysis (NQS, 2012). At the same time, due to the existence of several actors solving the same task or performing a similar activity, SST can help children to accomplish tasks beyond their current level of ability, which is critical for the educational process (Purdon, 2016). For this reason, adherence to this very theoretical model becomes an essential part of the educational process. That is why the central conceptual idea of the play is the creation of the meaningful context resting on participants’ interests and promoting SST via the imaginary situation with the broken car. It will result in the high level of interest to the object of play and evolution of knowledge and skills among children who share their thinking when performing some tasks.

Analyzing this theoretical idea, it is possible to say that an educator acquires a set of tools to impact children and educate them within the given play. Creating the appropriate context and acting as another player, the educator becomes involved in SST and can affect participants helping them to find correct answers or avoid conflicts (Meade et al., 2013). At the same time, accepting the fact that SST is an effective way to guide a child to perform tasks that were previously unavailable or unclear to him/her, the teacher can introduce questions that demand shared thinking and collaboration to find answers and generate knowledge. In such a way, the offered play rests on the theoretical paradigm emphasizing the increased importance of SST and its ability to contribute to the development of basic skills and knowledge needed for children to evolve and enter the next stage of their cognitive development (Purdon, 2016). For this reason, SST is selected as one of the fundamentals of the proposed situation.

Another paradigm utilized for the play is an imaginary play that also shows high effectiveness for early years teaching. Play-based learning has traditionally been the educational approach implemented by teachers in Australian preschool programs. It underpins state and national government early learning frameworks. The fact is that any play-based project builds on the motivation of a child, and uses the imaginary situation as a meaningful context for learning. In this environment, children acquire an opportunity to explore, experiment, discover, and solve problems in imaginative and playful ways (Ridgway, Quinones, & Li, 2015). It becomes a fundamental element of the educational process as there is a high level of motivation and the absence of stress, which improves results. In the play, any child can alter the space of his/her optical field to sense field by acting within the imaginary situation (Lin, Fu, Wan, Zhou, & Xu, 2018). For example, in the case, children pretend they are repairing the car after the crash. Accepting the offered conditions of the game, they acquire a new meaning in the imagined situation, which is essential for learning.

The proposed play utilizes the concept of play-based learning and the creation of imaginary situations that contribute to the development of particular skills and knowledge among participants. The educator offers the case with a car to stimulate creativity and ensure that both children will perform tasks contributing to the development of their cognitive, social, emotional, and practical skills. Selection of this model is presupposed by its high effectiveness in various educational situations and its ability to contribute to the achievement of positive results among children with different characteristics (Gleason, 2017). Combination of SST and imaginary play is expected to become an appropriate choice.

Play Example

The described play occurs in an afternoon in a particular garage. The age range of children is from 4 to 4,5 years. There are two focus children (A and B) playing with their teacher. They are playing in the corner where a teacher made a garage for them, pretending she is a customer driving her car outside. Child A asks: “What can I help you, customer?”. The educator answers: “I crashed my car into the tree. Can you please help me see what happened to my car?”. Reacting to these words, Child A holds the teacher’s care and pretends that it is driven inside the garage and put on the floor to check if everything is alright or what should be done. Child A opens the cover of this car and starts to check every single spot of it, copying the behavior of specialists. In 1 minute, Child A concludes: “Okay, I have just checked your car. There is something wrong with your car…The wheels are broken; the engine is broken too”. The teacher responds to this statement: “Can you fix it for me?”. Child A answers: “Yes, I can”. The educator asks another question: “How are you going to fix it for me? Do you fix it alone or with your colleague?”. Child A replies: “I will fix the wheels for you first, and then my colleague will fix the engine and put the paint on your car.” The teacher says: “Thank you”.

However, both Child A and Child B are not familiar with the tools that should be used to perform this task. They put the petrol oil in the engine instead of engine oil. That is why the educator acts as an outsider with the primary aim to guide participants of the play and says: “Okay, there is a picture on the bottle. What do you think you are holding?”. Child A and Child B answer: “Petrol oil.”. The teacher continues: “Where should petrol oil go?”. Both participants notice that they put the oil in the wrong place and after some considerations point to a certain side of the care. The educator understands that they do not know the term to describe it and helps them: “It is called a fuel system”. Being explained the meaning of terms engine oil and petrol oil, the children keep fixing the engine. However, Child A and Child B have a conflict about who has a turn for putting the paint on the care because there is only one spray, and only one participant can do it. The teacher states: “I see Child B is holding the spray. Child A, can you please ask your colleague to give it to you when he has finished it?”. In such a way, the agreement is achieved as Child A asks Child B if she can give her the spray. Then she changes the wheels waiting for Child B to finish putting paint.

The given situation is the example of play that rests on several theoretical concepts. First of all, the idea of imaginary play is utilized to interest children and make their creativity work effectively while performing some educational activity. Additionally, the method presupposing sustained shared thinking is implemented (Soundy, 2012). The teacher engages in collaboration with children and asks them open-ended questions to make them think and find answers on their own (Somers & Yawkey, 1984). The given approach promotes improved cooperation between all participants of the play and encourages them to use creative approaches to solve problems that emerge during the whole process and that contribute to the generation of knowledge.

Pedagogical Role and Child’s Perspective

The central pedagogical role is the creation of the imaginary play and conditions beneficial for social and emotional development along with the conflict resolution. For this reason, in this situation, the educator supported children by helping them with tasks and explaining the meanings of terms unknown for them. Additionally, it was critical to play with them as a partner supporting all their incentives and helping to resolve conflicts that emerged during their cooperation (Fleer, 2015). The given situation also promoted muscle development and collaboration as children had to work with various objects, which was an important role of the educator.

In such a way, the following teachers perspective can be formulated

  • Playing as a partner
  • Supporting incentives
  • Explaining terms
  • Resolving conflicts
  • Educating

As for the child’s perspective, it is a critical element of any play as it preconditions its main stages and aspects that should be emphasized. In every similar situation, children create an imaginary situation which is dynamic, continuous, and contributes to the development of new experiences and ideas via the resolution of challenges that might emerge (Ridgway, Quinones, & Li, 2015). It is critical to consider the fact that children learn in cases demanding problem-solving skills, which means that imaginary play is the best possible option for them. Analysis of play from child’s perspective this sort of cooperation is a specific meta-communicative scenario that can be used in the real-life situation due to the acquisition of certain skills and knowledge (Dayan & Ziv, 2012). In this example, the child’s perspective also serves as a major concept.

First, one can see that the educator accepts children’s perspective on the game and values their attitudes to all events occurring in the game. It helps to remain involved and engage in a specific sensitive relationship by responding to participants’ words and intentions (Nicholson, Shimpi, Kurnik, Carducci, & Jevgjovikj, 2014). Acceptance of their vision of the situation also helps to utilize the experience of the teacher and ask open-ended questions that will promote the further development of the play and its becoming interesting for both participants. Taking a child’s perspective in this play also means the improved sustained shared thinking as all individuals start to act within the same situation and find solutions together, which is critical for social and emotional development.

From the perspective of children, it is essential to perform many tasks on their own as it is interesting for them and provides with an opportunity to develop skills and acquire knowledge (Pyle & Alaca, 2018). That is why there can be some conflicts regarding the use of objects or the accomplishment of some tasks. Accepting the child’s perspective, the teacher acts effectively in the given situation showing that everyone will have an opportunity to use spray and perform various activities. Child’s perspective remains the major concern of the play. Participants consider the situation with the car as an interesting way to engage in activities they previously saw. That is why they try to apply some background knowledge to it.


Dayan, Y., & Ziv, M. (2012). Children’s perspective research in preservice early childhood student education. International Journal of Early Years Education, 20(3),280-289,

Fleer, M. (2015). Pedagogical positioning in play – Teachers being inside and outside of children’s imaginary play. Early Child Development and Care, 185(11-12), 1801-1814.

Gleason, T. (2017). The psychological significance of play with imaginary companions in early childhood. Learning & Behavior, 45, 432-440.

Lin, Q., Fu, H., Wan, Y., Zhou, N., & Xu, H. (2018). Chinese children’s imaginary companions: Relations with peer relationships and social competence. International Journal of Psychology, 53(5), 388-396.

Meade, A., Williamson, J., Stuart, M., Smorti, S., Robinson, L., & Carrol-Lind, J. (2013). Adult-child sustained shared thinking. Early Education, 52, 7-12.

National Quality Standard: Sustained, shared thinking. (2012). Web.

Nicholson, J., Shimpi, M., Kurnik, J., Carducci, C., & Jevgjovikj, M. (2014). Listening to children’s perspectives on play across the lifespan: children’s right to inform adults’ discussions of contemporary play, International Journal of Play, 3(2), 136-156.

Purdon, A. (2016). Sustained shared thinking in an early childhood setting: an exploration of practitioners’ perspectives. Education 3-13, 44(3), 269-282.

Pyle, A., & Alaca, B. (2018) Kindergarten children’s perspectives on play and learning. Early Child Development and Care, 188(8), 1063-1075,

Ridgway, A., Quinones, G., & Li, L. (2015). Early childhood pedagogical play. New York, NY: Springer.

Somers, J., & Yawkey, T. (1984). Imaginary play companions: Contributions of creative and Intellectual abilities of young children. The Journal of Creative Behavior, 18(2), 77-89.

Soundy, C. (2012). Imaginary play in Montessori classrooms: Considerations for a position statement. Montessori Life, 24(4), 28-35.

(n.d.). Web.

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