I am becoming a committed fan of Teacher Tom's blog, and his thoughtful and helpful posts.
Today on Tom's post he commented on an article which discusses play and it's importance.
This article cited several researchers in the field, most of whom support the vital importance of play in child development.(if you would like to read the full article please go to Teacher Tom 's post for today, and click on the link. (I tried to access it to make it available here but couldn't do it - I'm not all that knowledgable about downloading).
I haven't really read about Vygotsky in depth - but now plan to read more. (I have probably benefitted from his writings secondhand, in that I suspect many of the things I've learned about children's play were developed from his theories)
I like the idea of guided pretend play, and there are several references in this article as to how adult interactions, and guidance facilitates more enriched and imaginative language and play in young children - I think this is meant as scaffolding, and also allows for stepping back on the adult's part.
The author of this article refers to the strengthening of a child's "executive functions" - cognition, self control, working memory - through pretend play. He describes the child who may be pretending that a broom is a galloping horse for example, as using abstract thought.
I really love the quote from Vygotsy that pretend play allows a child to stand a "head taller than himself".
So thanks Teacher Tom for sharing this article, which helped me today feel positive again about my work.
We had a difficult afternoon today. The weather was stormy and we stayed in, and we were at our fullest group size with a group of children who couldn't seem to really find a common ground, with resultant tears, squabbles, and some unhappiness. This in spite of me trying what I know usually works to get us through the same kind of afternoon in the past. So today was an imperfect day, one of those days I remember I'm not perfect, and neither are my children.
Tomorrow will be better. I plan on it!