A DIVERSE PERSPECTIVE: HOW TEACHERS AND CHILDREN VIEW EDUCATIONAL PLAY IN KINDERGARTEN

H. Navrátilová, B. Petrů Puhrová

Tomas Bata University (CZECH REPUBLIC)
The paper presents a research view of the phenomenon of play and toys for preschool children in the kindergarten environment. The importance of play in pre-school child life is traditionally formulated in relation to many areas in which the child is developed through parental and teacher education. The focus in many studies has been devoted to a teacher who, in the day-to-day educational process at kindergarten, is the child's expected partner in play from preparation to implementation. However, the teacher's view is not the only aspect we can reflect. The interest of researchers is increasingly focused on the view of the issue through the perspective of the child. The aim is to try to listen to the "children's voices" in order to better understand their learning through their experiences under the conditions of kindergarten (Stamatoglou, 2004, Brooker et al., 2014). So the child becomes an active participant in the research process itself. The present study is based on qualitative research methodology. The data were gathered by in-depth interviews with 12 preschool teachers and 82 preschool children (aged 2 to 6 years) in four standard kindergartens in Czech Republic. The results indicate that teachers´ perspective differs from children´s view of play activities. In the teachers´ descriptions, play is considered only as free activity without teacher´s participation, they don´t reflect the play-based approach or development of children´s play competence. The authors discuss also limited possibilities of children´s choice to play with preferred toys in the kindergarten. The research shows that teachers should more integrate play-based learning strategies and reflect the children´s view of objects to play. Partially, the study focuses on kindergarten teacher´s perceived experience of play needs for two years old children.