Play in a first grade classroom

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McDougal, Mary-Ann
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1987
The specific purposes of this study were to determine: 1) the extent to which various categories of play were evident in a learning centers period in a first grade classroom: 2) whether specific activities and levels of play promoted various social groupings and levels of interaction: 3) whether the teacher's and children's perceptions of the program were similar. Data collected during a learning centers period in a self-contained first grade classroom (N=20) in southern Alberta. A target child procedure was used to observe individuals in order to record activities and language. Individual behaviours were then coded into task, social and language categories. As well, interviews with the children and teacher were conducted to obtain information regarding the perceptions of individuals about the program. In order to analyze the data, frequency tabulations were made of the number of activities contained in the 800 half-minute observation segments. These frequencies were then converted to levels of play in order to determine the range and relative frequencies of the various levels of play. Further analysis involved grouping social interactions into various levels in order that trends might be reported. Finally, the field notes from the interviews were analyzed in terms of themes in order that the perceptions of the teacher and children might be reported. The results of the study indicate that approximately 36% of the observed behaviours were considered play and that a significant proportion of the play was of the functional or constructive type. These lower levels of play accounted for the majority of the solitary and parallel social formations. The results of the study suggest implications for the range and choice of materials and activities which might be used to promote play as well as the role of the teacher in promoting play and facilitating play during the structured time.
59 leaves, ; 28 cm
Play , Dissertations, Academic