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Tina Bruce Play Theory

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By weebeth
Words 810
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Tina Bruce was born on

Tina Bruce is known as a social learning theorist whose work has been greatly influenced by Frederich Froebel. Bruce originally trained and worked as a teacher at the Froebel institute then went on to become Head of the Froebel nursery school. She is a leading figure in early childhood education and an expert in children’s learning.
Bruce links the three aspects of the curriculum to the ten principles of early childhood education -
The child
The context - the people and places
The content - what the child knows and wants and needs to know

Children are whole people who have feelings, ideas and relationships with others, and who need to be physically, mentally, morally and spiritually healthy.
Young children learn in an integrated way and not in neat tidy compartments.
Children learn best when they are given appropriate responsibility, allowed to make errors, decisions and choices, and respected as autonomous learners.
Self-discipline is emphasised. Indeed, this is the only kind of discipline worth having. Reward systems are very short-term and do not work in the long-term. Children need their efforts to be valued.
There are times when children are especially able to learn particular things.
What children can do rather than what they cannot do, is the starting point of a child’s education.
Imagination, creativity and all kinds of symbolic behaviour [reading, writing, drawing, dancing, music, mathematical numbers, algebra, role play and talking] develop and emerge when conditions are favourable.
Relationships with other people [both adults and children] are of central importance in a child’s life.
Quality education is about three things: the child, the context in which learning takes place, and the knowledge and understanding that the child develops and learns.

Tina Bruce based her theory around the importance of a holistic approach centred on play, experiences and creativity. Bruce identified 10 core principles of early education. Central to the theory is the belief that play is vital within a child’s learning, and places much emphasis on free-flow play. In 1997 she stated “when play is at its most fruitful, it is in free-flow”.
Free-flow play allows the child to have control over their own play by exploring their different ideas and feelings using their imagination, making choices and making mistakes.
Tina Bruce identified 12 features of play and these were deemed important in order for quality free-flow play to arise. During play, if 7 or more of these features are present then effective learning will be seen. Children are perceived to be biologically born to play and genetically set to develop, however children need other people to initiate these biological processes. An adult can initiate free flow play but there involvement must be limited allowing the child to have the control.
Tina Bruce’s work has been much influenced by revolutionary theorists such as Froebel and Montessori. One of Bruce’s 10 principles is the holistic nature of development which is supported in the Curriculum for Excellence today showing how play supports a holistic approach to teaching. Bruce illustrates the concept and advantages of free-flow play, a concept that is being encouraged within the early years sector. Janet Moyles criticized Tina Bruce by saying that children benefit from the active involvement of teachers, stating, “Appropriate directed play will ensure the child learns from his or her current state of knowledge and skills”.
The theory sees children as being biologically programmed to play and develop with the necessity of others to initiate it. Bruce therefore shows that both biological and social aspects are important within development and of play.

The theory adapted by Bruce can be applied today into a practical context in numerous ways. The idea of a holistic approach can be practiced by allowing children to make more choices in their learning. Teachers should observe the children and find out their interests and individual needs in order to plan and create activities according to each child.
Free-flow play can be extended by the use of a play house or home corner. The corner could be made into a shop. The children would be able to make use of the costumes and props allowing them to engage in role play, use their imaginations Play is an essential part of every child’s life and vital to their development. It is the way children explore the world around them and develop and practise skills. It is essential for physical, emotional and spiritual growth, for intellectual and educational development, and for acquiring social and behavioural skills. Play is a generic term applied to a wide range of activities and behaviours that are satisfying to the child, creative for the child, and freely chosen by the child. Children play on their own and with others. Their play may be boisterous and energetic or quiet and contemplative, light-hearted or very serious.…...

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