Discovery Learning Through Play
The way that the arts and play are closely linked is reflected in the words that we use to describe them. For example, we talk about playing music, going to the theater to see a play, and even playing games that might involve a play on words. So, if there is a playful aspect to the arts, it may be that they are linked to creative dream worlds into which we can escape from reality (Swanwick, 1988). This dream world often involves a high level of imagination, which Vygotsky (1976) defined as play without action. Imagination can extend well beyond the period of early childhood, and, as described in the creativity chapter, childlike playfulness is a significant characteristic of many creative adults and a key component of working in music, dance, drama, and art at all ages.
For young children, imagination often is accompanied by action, partly because they are uninhibited about expressing their imagining, but also because their way of thinking with the body provides a natural means of integrating thought and emotion through action. As children participate in free-play activities, they are motivated by their own actions and go about their "work" making decisions about what they will do, how they will do it, and why. Such decisions involve a number of decision-making processes, a majority of which are shown in a variety of nonverbal, sensory, physical, and intuitive ways. Hence, the arts are like games, because they allow us to create other "worlds" that are dreamlike, or at least playlike—they are otherworldly (Swanwick, 1988). However, play seems to precede understanding and the use of various thinking skills. Much of the child's thinking is based on doing and then understanding. Let us turn our attention now to the ways in which the arts provide potential for children to learn how to learn through the processes of doing.
© ______ 2003, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Child Development Theories
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- The Homework Debate
- Social Cognitive Theory
- First Grade Sight Words List
- GED Math Practice Test 1