A critical examination of the role of play in early year’s classroom in Saudi Arabia

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A critical examination of the role of play in early year’s classroom in Saudi Arabia


In the early years, people used the term play and spot to mean the same thing, however, as time passed by researchers developed an interest in the two activates and realized that they mean seriously different things. Some of the main concerns that are still under consideration include the importance of play in the classroom and the motivation of play in the classroom. This paper seeks to critically examine the role of play in early year’s classroom in Saudi Arabia. The per sets out by analyzing the difference between play and sports, the determining the various theories of play and finally, an analysis of the role of play in early years classrooms in the context of Saudi Arabia.

Key words: play, sports, ECD, learning and theories

Table of Contents

Section 1: Introduction. 3

1.1 Background of the study. 3

1.2 Aims of the study. 3

Chapter 2: Literature review.. 5

2.2 Historical aspect of play; theories of play. 5

Etymological definition of play. 6

2.3 Children’s right to play. 8

2.4 Sports problems. 8

Chapter 3: Research Methodology. 10

3.1 introduction. 10

3.2 Research methods. 10

3.3 Research Philosophy. 10

3.4 Research Purpose. 11

3.5 Research Approach. 12

3.6 Quantitative Approach to Research. 12

3.6.1 Advantages and Limitations of quantitative research. 12

3.7 Qualitative Approach to Research. 13

3.8 Research Strategy. 13

3.9 Ethics of Survey Research. 15

3.9.1 Sampling and Data Collection for the Primary Study. 15

3.9.2 Data collection methods. 15

3.9.3 Data analysis. 15

3.9.4 Validity and Reliability of results. 16

3.9.5      Delimitations. 16

Chapter4 Findings. 17

4.1 The number of hours that children spend playing in school and out of school 17

4.2 Response from the academia on play in early classroom.. 18

4.4 Motivation in sports performances and learning. 20

Chapter 5 Conclusion. 22

Chapter 6. Recommendation for further research. 23

Section 1: Introduction

The major relationship between learning and play is that much of our social life in the current society is always taken up by learning activities; however, learning may include reading and carrying out activities such as community services and religious practices. It is also necessary to note that even though learning and play may overlap they are worlds apart because play is not as physical as learning and as such is not marked by competition, make believe or teasing. Play is a term derived from the Anglo-Saxon –plega which means game or sports. Play has always been considered as activity carried out by children as compared top learning which has more often been used to mean adults’ activity. However, and it is advisable to appreciate the play as an activity which is enjoyed by all, children and adults alike (Pascal, 62)

1.1 Background of the study

While play is extremely beneficial to children as it is a sure way by which children learn to utilize their surplus energy, it is also a natural part of the children. Play has a hand in which the children are developed cognitively. However, has also identified that play is particularly instrumental for supporting the development of the pupils skill of communication. It is on this background that we seek to analyze the role of play in early year’s classroom in Saudi Arabia

1.2 Aims of the study

A critical examination of the role of play in early year’s classroom in Saudi Arabia

Objectives of the study

  1. To determine if play is essential in  the cognitive development of children
  2. To analyze the role of play in the early years classroom in Saudi Arabia
  3.  To make recommendation according the results of the study geared at contributing the existing knowledgebase on play and early year’s classroom. This will also help in making  recommendations for future researches

Chapter 2: Literature review

According to Cattanach, (95), play is any absorbing activity which involves the enthusiastic participation of young children. On the other hand, Power, at al (1995), defines play as the simpler subsection of life in which the children explore their inhibited talents and learn to connect it with the latent abilities.  For a player to label an activity as play, it must be enjoyable to the player. The player must value it in a positive way and finally the player must have self or intrinsic motivation. However, defined play as an activity in which the person chooses freely without coercion or duress and is ready to experience the consequences that come with play. Rutter & Hyder (199) argues that, it is imperative that teachers have the above characteristics in their play as it is the only way that children will feel motivated. It is not right for teachers to impose adult’s values and motivation on children’s leisure. This may hamper experience that children stand to enjoy in the course of play.

2.2 Historical aspect of play; theories of play

According to Lepper, & Greene, (78), play was the centre of focus in the nineteenth century, and early twentieth century. Most of the work done by early theorist of play included definition and explanations. Some of the theorist includes Herbert Spenser. He postulated in his surplus energy theory that people engaged themselves in plays to burn any excess energy. The activities people engage in when they have no pressing need included predatory instincts.

On the other hand, Perkins (19), states that Moritz Lazarus, who stated that people engaged in play to preserve energy, put the learning theory forth. He argued that a change in activities such as physical exercise preserves energy. While Karl Groos in his indistinct practice theory said that, when people are exhausted they engage in physical practices that sharpen their skill and enable them to survive in the future. The self expression theory was put forward by Elmer Mitchell. He stated that men are dynamic creatures and are always on the lookout for any activity they can do to let out their pent up energy and express their personality (Almnie, 23).

Goodenow, (62), play was also theorized as a social by the father of play movement in America called Joseph Lee. Lee felt that play was recourse for those children from poverty ridden households. He agreed that play contributed to the overall development of individuals’ character because it mainly involves discipline, loyalty and sacrifice. The major typologies of play included agon(istic) ilinx alea, and mimicry. On the other hand, Perkins, Jay, & Tishman, (43), says that play has much psychological benefits. For example, play has been said to be particularly beneficial to the psychological and emotional development in children by a cherished child psychologist Frank Lawrence, while Sigmund Freud saw play as a way through which children could gain control of their lives and solve conflicts that occur in their lives. Play is also a form of creative exploration whereby the individuals play to arouse their stimuli and test their environment (Almnie, 22; Delpit, 55).

Etymological definition of play

Katz, (13) Etymologically the term learning is derive from the Latino word licere which means to be free or permitted, and from the word licere the French coined the term loisir meaning free time. The English came up with the term, ‘license.’ meaning liberty or total immunity form carrying out public obligation. These are the kind of activities that people engage in, to reduce the level of stress, by shifting their attention from class work. Rogoff, (90) argue that learning is a form of learningal activity people carry out to de-stress themselves and get a sense of self worth. Classically Aristotle as an activity that is carried out for its own sake regarded learning. In the modern world, learning must be available for all and must run concurrently with play. Learning in the modern world is used as a curriculum. However, the best way to refer to play as a discretionary time or as defined Attar, (197)

Learning can be defined as the free time an individual remains with after attending to all the necessities of life. Conceptions of learning varies from the arithmetic point of view it is the time that one devotes to learning, and any other necessities subtracted from the 24hours – which gives a surplus time. The general notion learning as the time one uses as he pleases. Learning has also been defined as an activity in which one engage in during his free time to amuse himself, rest, add his knowledge and  increase his voluntary participation in life to the community. This is important after fully discharging his academic obligations. Learning is also associated with the social capital. Social capital is the kind of success that people who is socially connected tend to experience due to their position within the society (Ibrahim, 16; Meier, 66)

Free play and structured play

Brooker, (2002), defines free play as the kind of play that children chose what to do, and how to play. This kind of play involves the intervention of an adult in minimal scale as compared to structured play. On the other hand            Structured play refers to the kind of play that adults engages children in. it is important because the input of the teachers is instrumental in ensuring that the children are engaged in constructive form of play. The adults initiate that play, controls the materials and the resources that the children have top pay with and intervene in the course of the play. Teachers or practitioners are expected to have a better idea about the play and the general or specific objectives of initiating hat play in the classroom. This is what influences the kind of intervention that the practitioner implements (Burton, 102)

There are various believes and mixed opinions as the social constructivist believe that free play is easy to isolate and in not involving children in sharing and contracting meanings. The original work of the social constructivists such as Vygotsky and Bruner, easily envisage that adults will get themselves into the children’s play. However, they also argue that reflection and sharing of information is vital in enriching the children’s’ experiences and play a hugely prominent role in the learning process (Carr, 211).

2.3 Children’s right to play

Saudi Arabia, just like any other country, is the world has rules and regulations that govern the country’s education system. Saudi Arabia has an education system that caters for the needs of both sexes. Both males and females children have a right to development. Educationists in Saudi Arabia know the importance of play to children and, advocates for enough time for playing. The country has a well structured education system in which those who deny their right to education are liable to punishment. The country believes that education to paramount to everybody (Claxton, 42; Delpit, 56; Goleman, 56).

2.4 Sports problems

Cowie, & Carr, (24), argue that just like in any other activity, sports also have problems. For example, in children, there are times when discrimination arises on the grounds of on the grounds of race, colors, age, or religious beliefs. In football, matches are marred with poor refereeing and officiating, at the time there arises cases of match fixing. The above sports have one single problem that they share. A better example is that the rights of both an athlete and a footballer in their respective sports should be upheld.

Both the athlete and the footballer need an environment in which they all have an opportunity to participate in their sport of choice. By so saying, their teachers need to create an environment in which each and every person has an equal chance of being chosen to participate without bias or discrimination. Any form of discrimination may kill the spirit of the player and may even lead to frustration and depression (Salomon, 22; Rogoff, Chavajay, & Matusov, 36)

Whenever the right of children in a play is infringed, they lose their self esteem and may not be active in the classroom setting. All children should be allowed to confer with other teachers for advice and moral support and finally the concept of children well being should be supported both in sport and outside the sport, this is also called the concept of a balanced lifestyle. All children should be treated with the kind of respect they deserve at all times; by giving children an opportunity to play they become active in class. Sports is a social activity so nobody should be discriminated against on any ground, be it gender, race, marital status, disability, color, sexual identity, political opinion, age or religious beliefs, (Claxton, & Carr, 22).

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1 introduction

            In This chapter, the researcher will give an illustration and discussion of the methodology that he has adopted for this research, including how the collection and data analysis took place to test the hypotheses in the later stages. Starting with the research philosophy, this chapter moves forward with the description of the research purpose and approach, continues with a description of the research strategy and ends up with the delineation of how the researcher has collected data and on how he selected the sample(Graue, & Walsh, 45).

3.2 Research methods

The researcher would base the fundamental outline of this project on both qualitative data and quantitative data with prominence given to quantitative data, which would implicate and explore working with other adults in school developing mathematics as a collaborative enterprise. However, the researcher would derive secondary data from sources like books, journal articles, reports so on and so forth.

3.3 Research Philosophy

            According to Graue, & Walsh, (67), a research philosophy related to the development of knowledge is about assumptions on the view of life, which are underpinning the research strategy and the chosen methods. The most commonly known research philosophies, also known as epistemology are positivism, realism and interpretive.

The last one is concerned with the subjective understanding and interpretation of the actions of the business world.

            Realism is a mixture out of the two prior delineated research philosophies. It assumes that reality still exists which may be independent of personal thinking or belief. Thus, the researcher has to investigate individual interpretations of the impact of corporate restructuring on employees to enable him understand key business structures or effects. For the exact same reason, the researcher will use realism to build knowledge about the external reality of operations management (Graue, & Walsh, 45).

3.4 Research Purpose

            According to Graue, & Walsh, (75), the researcher must link the research question for the research purposes. Three different research purposes can be termed, those being descriptive, exploratory and explanatory. Descriptive research seeks to describe situations as accurate as possible. On the contrary, researchers conduct exploratory research studies when they need to win new insights in a specific topic of interest.

            With the conduct of explanatory research studies, the researcher evaluates and explains causal relationships between different variables. This will be an exploratory study as the study will only be on the causal relationship that exists between collaborative enterprise and successful mathematics learning in the classroom. Researcher are likely to accomplish statistical tests such as correlation tests in this research to be able to gain insights into different relationships. Researcher carries out these researches to contribute to the existing body of knowledge in the critical examination of the role of play in early year’s classroom in Saudi Arabia.


3.5 Research Approach

The design of the research project can have two different approaches, those being deductive or inductive. Whereas the researchers commonly know the deductive approach as a “top-down” approach, the inductive approach is known as a “bottom-up” approach. With an inductive approach, the researcher fist ascertains the empirical data out of which he derives the hypotheses. This approach is also known as qualitative approach. With a deductive approach, the researcher verifies and explains the causal relationships are being explained. For this purpose, the aims of the study are established, which are than validated with means of quantitative methods (Graue, & Walsh, 45).

3.6 Quantitative Approach to Research

The quantitative research methodology can be considered as the most common technique employed in scientific researches. This approach uses data extracted from different numerical based aspects, measurements and, evaluates numerical data, which are further used to interpret results.

3.6.1 Advantages and Limitations of quantitative research

The quantitative approach brings with it many advantages but is also coupled with some limitations. Using quantitative measures such as quantitative data is easy to gather, translate and store than other forms of information. This also takes less time. Any variations in variables can easily be found out and assessed regularly. The quantitative data employed in a quantitative based research approach provides an elaborate explanation to whatever circumstances or research which in the long run, is quite helpful to researchers and others who use this research. It is remarkably easy to compare the different variables in a sample data with the historical data using this approach.

The limitation to the quantitative based research approach is the over simplification employed which may not result in refle.............

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