6
Play, literacy and situated
learning

Nigel Hall


Summary

This chapter considers the relationship between play and literacy
and explores how both provide opportunities for situated learning.
Through a case study of 5-year-old children working in association
with a socio-dramatic play area themed as a garage, the chapter
demonstrates how the situated nature of the experience takes them
into areas of world knowledge that are highly unusual in the educa-
tion of young children.


Introduction

Associating socio-dramatic play with literacy is a relatively recent innovation. Before the mid-1980s I had never seen a classroom with intentionally and systematically incorporated explicit literacy experiences within socio-dramatic play settings. Indeed, around that time I was told by many people working with nursery children that they did not have print in their classrooms because it would confuse the children. One wonders how any child survived a walk down a British high street! After the mid-1980s this began to change and for a while linking play with literacy became highly popular, even getting serious attention in the National Curriculum English documentation. The Programme of Study (DES 1990) claimed that:

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The Excellence of Play
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Photographs vii
  • Notes on the Editor and Contributors x
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Foreword xix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part 1 - Setting the Play Context 13
  • 1: Play and Legislated Curriculum Back to Basics 15
  • 2: Learning to Play, Playing to Learn 27
  • 3: Play and Special Needs 39
  • Part 2 - Play, Language and Literacy Development 57
  • 4: Play, Storytelling and Creative Writing 59
  • 5: Open-Ended Role Play 72
  • 6: Play, Literacy and Situated Learning 86
  • 7: Story-Making, Play and Gender 98
  • 8: Fantasy Play and the Case for Adult Intervention 111
  • Part 3 - Play and the Curriculum 125
  • 9: Physical Activity and Rough-And-Tumble Play 127
  • 10: Outdoor Play and the Pedagogic Garden 138
  • 11: Science and Play 154
  • 12: Mathematics and Play 170
  • 13: Art in the Early Years 186
  • 14: Playing Music 200
  • Part 4 - Play, Culture and Playful Practitioners 211
  • 15: Practitioners and Play 213
  • 16: The Importance of Play in the Transition to School 228
  • 17: Play in the Early Years 242
  • 18: Play, the Universe and Everything! 255
  • Afterword 268
  • References 271
  • Index 291
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