Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Unfreezing Disney's Frozen through Playful and Intentional Co-Authoring/co-Playing

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Education

Unfreezing Disney's Frozen through Playful and Intentional Co-Authoring/co-Playing

Article excerpt

Play, Playfulness, and Early Learning and Childcare Curricula in Canada

Across Canada, within early childhood practice, policy, and research, there has been an intensified focus on the possibilities of play and playful early learning and childcare pedagogies. This is evidenced, in part, with the emergence of provincial/territorial curriculum initiatives in early learning and childcare across Canada, and specifically the creation and implementation of mandated early learning curriculum frameworks for educators of children from birth to four or five years of age.1 These frameworks highlight/materialize play, and in some cases playfulness, as a pedagogic value and practice. In New Brunswick and Alberta, the curriculum-support document Play and Playfulness (Ashton, Stewart, Hunt, Nason, and Scheffel (2009) details one of four broad-based learning goals that inform provincial curricula and practices in both provinces (Early Childhood Research Team University of New Brunswick, 2008; Makovichuk, Hewes, Lirette, & Thomas, 2014).2 In Play and Playfulness the image of the playful child is described as follows:

At play, children are empowered to learn on their own terms, in their own ways, and in their own times. This freedom is what distinguishes play from other activities. Play allows children to take initiative, test their physical and mental limits, explore positions of power & questions of good & evil, use words & other symbols to transform the world, creating worlds where they can act "as if " rather than "as is." (Ashton et al., 2009, p. 2)

The research and creation of Play and Playfulness (Ashton et al., 2009) included an extensive review of literature on play, broad consultations with the sector, and close work with childcare educators in the co-authoring of the ideas and stories that constitute the document. Throughout this extensive and intensive process, play was recognized as contested, an area of learning generally erased or marginalized within schools, yet one critical to children's learning, joy, and healthy development. In childcare sector consultations with educators, they made definite their desire that play be included and celebrated within the curriculum framework. Subsequently, the intertwining of theory and practice in the context of multiple types of play has been represented within Play and Playfulness (2009). In revisiting the document we notice that the playing and playful child is well articulated, however there are fewer references to the playful adult.

In this article, we focus on the idiosyncratic, conceptual, and practical power of play as it is combined with a disposition of playfulness, and thoughtful acts of co-authoring and co-playing adults. As well, we highlight the pedagogic power of the present, and of place through this critical rethinking of play with playfulness as it transpires in the co-authoring creations of four educators and a group of young children. These co-players collectively re-story multiple versions of the popular film Frozen, itself a loose improvisation of Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen. Not surprisingly, the dramatic play of young children is informed by this popular culture phenomenon. The co-playing/ co-authoring dispositions of the educators and their desire to "unfreeze" the predictability and power dynamics of Frozen play avoids the pitfall of banning popular culture play (Rose, 2013). In this way the educators disrupt the false dichotomy between real and pretend play, and demonstrate intertextual inventiveness in the context of multimodal play and playfulness. Through critically revisiting cumulative documentation in the form of learning stories and ensuing conversations, we aim to articulate and better understand the value of play and playfulness in the context of co-playing and co-authoring. Our critical revisiting also revealed the agential nature of the children in their intra-actions with materials, the outdoor environment, each other, and their educators. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.