The content of play may vary according to a child’s culture, but the fundamental nature of play holds firms across all cultures. Children everywhere need to socialize, run about, investigate their environment, and create new words and so on. This holds true for all children, including those with disabilities. Play is integrated throughout as an effective means to support all domains of development and promote learning in all curriculum areas. It is consensual among international educational community that children now spend far more time being instructed and tested in literacy and math than they do learning through play and exploration exercising their bodies and using their imagination.
This ERASMUS IP aims to create a multicultural teaching and learning community, that promotes the construction knowledge of using play and traditional toys as pedagogical tools for 21st century European children. Another goal is to enhance the development of a European network that sensitizes teachers, parents and other childhood professionals to be advocates of children’s right to play and learn through play. To accomplish these main goals the following objectives were identified: a) promote construction knowledge and discussion about theories of play; b) promote construction knowledge and discussion about the history of toys and their role within childhood pedagogy; c) identify traditional toys and types of play of each one of the countries involved at the IP; d) develop skills to adapt traditional play and toys as pedagogical tools for 21st century education.
The IP course adopts an active learning approach that contemplates seminars and lectures followed by discussion, debates, group work, study visits, workshops, and organization of an exhibition.
This IP course has the participation of 5 European countries (Portugal, Turkey, Latvia, Romania and Spain), 17 faculty and 25 students from preschool and elementary educational majors.
By the end of the IP students are expected to achieve the following learning outcomes:
i) being sensitive to the power of play for teaching and learning; ii) be able to use traditional adapted games and toys to educational planning in preschool and elementary education; iii) develop a reflective perspective about wise and appropriate use of traditional play and toys in their professional practice; iv) to construct a narrative about the value of play that reflects theoretical, plural, and integrated perspectives; v) recognize and use social and cultural manufactured artefacts and infuse them in education; vi) being active citizens that are able to sensitize and mobilize educational community and community at large for the vital role of play on children’s health.
Simultaneously the IP will promote the following transversal competences: i) communicate effectively using a foreign language (English) in teaching and social contexts; ii) be aware of cultural differences and integrate them in their professional and everyday life; iii) develop collaboration and communication skills at European level; iv) use TIC to communicate and disseminate ideas, results, and products.
The IP expected outputs are: a) create a discussion forum at the website (open to community at large) as channel of reflection on IP topics; b) organize an international seminar about the role of Play, toys and culture, hosted at coordinator institution. c) present communications and posters at national and international conferences.
The IP webesite is: http://www.iesfafe.pt/IP.