Oldfield, Janine (2009) The Place of Play. Australian Journal of Early Childhood. ISSN 0312-5033 (Submitted)
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The article explores the importance of play in all aspects of development, particularly that of dramatic play. It cites research that indicates play, with the correct adult intervention and environment, can not only enhance Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development due to its social nature so that skills, knowledge, problem solving and the integration of experiences are fostered and realised, it can lead to more permanent neural connections. However, any cross-cultural evaluations of play are fraught with difficulties since apparent similarities may actually lead to different cultural end skills and apparent differences to deficit discourse. Thus, parallel systems of childcare, such as the Indigenous Australian Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Services (MACS), that offer holistic care and alternative conceptions of play may be required in order to foster identity formation and, hence, development.
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