Active Play in the Early Years Essay

Repetition is needed as it will take an early learner longer to learn a game or activity as these skills are only being developed and they take time and children need to recognise the play activities that they like and are interested in. Another important factor in Active Play is the environment. This needs to be aesthetic and prepared for the early learners. The area needs to be a safe and positive environment for both indoor and outdoor play. Active play inside the classroom will develop their fine motor skills such as going from using a crayon to colour to using a colouring pencil.

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Outside, the gross motor skills are being developed as they are free to do large movements such as running, jumping and skipping. Hopscotch is an activity that will greatly develop the fine and the gross motor skills. Outdoor plays also allows the child to recognise the weather and to understand nature. Children depend greatly on the teachers in the Early Learning setting to provide them with activities every day.

These need to be planned and thought out with careful consideration for each child.

The adult is the role model for the children, they also need to treat each child equally and be very positive with their physical development. It is a good idea for the staff of the preschool setting to arrange a programme for the children and to stick by it. Observations can also be made by the staff to see how the child is developing through the medium of Active Play. This active play is so crucial for young children’s development that the Irish Government have installed a play policy in Ireland. Not many countries would have a Play Policy so it is a positive factor in our state.

In 2000 the Government published the National Children’s Strategy. The Strategy stated; “The need for more opportunities for community-based play, leisure and cultural activities was high on the list of issues raised by children during the consultation process. ” (Francis Spillane, NCO) It was proposed that the National Play and Recreational Policies in Ireland were to be reformed and redeveloped. The National Play Policy was introduced in 2004 by Brian Lenihan TD. This is our current Play Policy but after the Yes vote in the 2012 Children’s Referendum this could be changed.

The Play Policy is recognised for younger children and the Recreation Policy is recognised for older children. The play policy was introduced to create better play opportunities for younger children with play infrastructures and facilities. The government saw that play has a very important role in a child’s development and recognised that a Play Policy needed to be introduced. These are some of the objectives set out for the Current Play Policy: To give children a voice in the development of play policies and facilities.

To raise awareness of the importance of play to ensure that children’s play needs are met through the development of a child-friendly environment; To maximise the public play opportunities available to all children, particularly children who are impoverished, disadvantaged or who have a disability. To improve the quality and safety of playgrounds and play areas. This objective is very important s playgrounds can be very dangerous. To ensure that the staff of early learning centres are properly qualified and insured. To improve information on the play provision for children in Ireland.

These objectives were set following consultation with key governing bodies relating to children’s needs and protection in the area of play. All of these objectives have resulted in a much healthier generation of children and many aspects of the brain are developed through this Active Play. It is a very positive policy for children as it has benefitted them directly. Two Active Play sessions for 10 children ages 3-6 years. Detailed description of the planned activities: To warm up the children I will begin by making sure they are wearing suitable clothing and that their shoe laces are tied.

I will then begin by introducing the Traffic Light Game. This is a simple warm up game whereby the teacher shouts commands at the children and they have to complete the relevant action. The basic rules are Red is stop, Amber is walk and Green is run. There are other commands you can introduce such after they get the hang of this such as, roundabout-turn around once, speedbump-jump and continue as you were, change lanes-change direction, roadworks-run in single file and rain-children will mimic window wipers. These are just a few that the group will enjoy.

The group will begin by walking slowly around the hall or area that they exercise in with lots of space so they do not bump into their peers. After walking slowly for around 30 seconds, the teacher will ask the group to start jogging around the hall slowly and carefully and then begin to exclaim the commands at the group. Green light- run, continue running. Red light-everyone stands very still and then continues to run again. Amber light-everyone will walk. This will continue for around three minutes until the other commands can be introduced once the teacher informs the children as to what they are.

Once they understand, all the commands can be used. This warm up exercise will last for the duration of around ten minutes. The next planned activity is for bone strengthening. A circuit of various equipment will be used for this. In once section, hopscotch will be used by using the sponge numbers. The children will need to use coordination in order to be able to hop onto each sponge number. 5 groups of two are required for these activities so that they children do not get bored or lose concentration. The next section of the circuit will be used for skipping and jumping. This will require 4 children. for the skipping ropes and 2 for jumping through the rope ladder. Each child will watch their partner do the task and then have a go themselves. If a child is unable to skip, a hoolahoop can be used so they get used to the concept of skipping. The next section of the circuit is for balance. This is done by using the balance board and taking long strides to see how big they can get their steps Again this is for 2 children. This activity takes a lot of focus and courage as some children may be afraid of the balance board. The last activity is bouncing the ball high and passing it to your partner.

This activity can be dangerous so the teacher needs to show the 2 children how to bounce the ball safely. They also need to know how to play catch with their partner properly and not to throw it too hard. The group will all have a go on each of these activities and move around to each section after each pair are finished. These activities will last the duration of around 13 minutes. This cool down activity is a game called fruit basket and requires everyone in the group. Each child needs to be sitting on their own spaced out mat for this. All the children sit in a circle on their mats.

The teacher chooses three different fruits and goes around the circle giving each person the name of a fruit, in a particular order, for example, apple, orange, pineapple. A child is then chosen, or volunteers, to go into the centre of the circle. His/her mat is then taken away. The child in the centre calls out the name of one of the three fruits. If the child in the centre says apple then all the apples change places, same rules for the other fruit names. If the child says fruit basket then everyone changes places. The child who is left without a mat goes into the centre for the next round.

This is a very enjoyable game for the ELs and will take around 5 minutes. The next cool down activity is great for ending a lesson and lasts only around 2 minutes. First the teacher needs the children to each get a mat and lie on, making sure their head is on the mat. This game is called tiring morning. The group will all lie down for around 40 seconds with their eyes shut. The teacher then shouts ‘wake up and get out of bed you sleepy heads’. They then will run around the hall for around 20 seconds as fast as they can go. The teacher then asks to sit with their legs crossed on the mat and their hands on their heads for 10 seconds.

The teacher then asks them to feel their hearts which are racing really fast and thanks the group for participating. Objectives: for the group to learn a new game and variation on the game Traffic Lights. They will have fun whilst physically exercising. For the group to understand turn taking and develop their fine and gross motor skills. For each child to get their heart beating fast to their heart muscle and bones develop. For each child to get to know the group better by using a partner system and learn new games and skills. Resources/materials required: Traffic light colours.

Hopscotch sponges. Skipping rope, hoolahoop (if required) and rope ladder for the floor. Balance Board. 2 bouncy balls. Mats. Safety Issues: Each child must be in appropriate clothing and shoes in order to proceed in the activities. They must be aware of space and not bumping into their peers. Must learn how to bounce a ball safely. Active Play session #2 This warm up game is called Toilet Tag which is very enjoyable for children. This is a team game requiring ten children. The teacher informs the group that they need to be split in half, so 5 on each team.

The children will begin by walking slowly for around 40 seconds building up to a slow jog, making sure they are aware of others around them and using plenty of space. The teacher informs the group that those who are ‘on / it’ have to tag others. Then when tagged, the child becomes a toilet! They then will have to kneel on one knee, arm up for the flush and other knee (foot on floor) flat for the toilet seat. The teacher tells the group that in order to be released, someone from the team has to go up to you and tap you on the arm to be flushed.

No one can be tagged whilst they are. The group are to swap over after 10 minutes. This is funny game along with being physically active for the children. The main activity for this session develops the group’s ball skills. There will be 5 teams of 2. 2 partners will be at each station. The first station will require 4 children. There will be 4 cones on one side for passing the ball through with their hands and 4 cones on the other side for kicking the ball around the cones. The children swap after doing each of these. The second station will have 10 skittles and a ball.

One partner has to stand behind the skittles and when the other child knocks the skittles over by rolling the ball, they will pick them back up. They will then swap. The third station is for kicking the ball against the wall. The teacher will need to show the children how to do this correctly with their foot so they do not kick the ball dangerously. 2 children can do this. The fourth station is throwing the ball through the hoop. One partner stands with the hoop while the other throws a ball carefully through it, they then swap roles. The final section is for kicking the ball into the goal. children are also required for this. The teacher will need to show them how to kick the ball properly with the inside of their foot before they procede. They will improve on their kicking and aiming and then swap roles. Every child will get a go on each section and then move onto the next. This will take around 15 minutes. It is very enjoyable for the group. The cool down activity is a game named Magic Rocks. This requires the whole group and their imaginations. The teacher tells each child to find a clear space. They must make sure that they are not touching anyone else.

The teacher shows the children to crouch down on the floor and make a ball shape with their bodies. The teacher explains that all the children are magic rocks and that the teacher is a magic wizard. The teacher waves her wand and says magic rocks turn into butterflies. All the children turn into butterflies and flutter around the hall/room. The teacher then says magic rocks turn into magic rocks and the children will crouch into a ball shape again. This will then continue with various rocks. The children can even be the wizard and tell the teacher what to do.

It is a fun game that is not too energetic and is suitable for the cool down. It will last approx. 5 minutes. 3-4 Objectives: The children will learn new games. Improve on ball skills. Develop hand/eye coordination. Exercise appropriately for their age. Resources/Materials used: 8 cones, 2 balls. 10 skittles and a small ball. 2 balls. Hoolahoop and small ball. 1 ball. Safety Issues: Each child must be in appropriate clothing and shoes in order to proceed in the activities. They must be aware of space and not bumping into their peers. Must learn how to kick a ball safely.

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