1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Play and demonstration methods are the primary vehicle by which young children learn. For the preschool child (3-6 years old), demonstration methods is at the very centre of his life. The play experience of the young child serve as the primary vehicle by which he/she learns about himself and his environment. During the preschool years, young children greatly expand their knowledge, understanding and abilities. They explore and discover their world through experiences using their sense of touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste and the child’s discovery of the environment could be done through play. Play is a universal language which every child understands, it is seen as a positive tool for holistic development in young children. Children love to play and learn a lot through play. It is such a significant factor in children’s learning that the National Policy on Education 2004 categorically stated that government should ensure that the main method of teaching at the early childhood level should be through play.
Play has been given different definitions by different authors. Play is a perfect activity for normal development and growth of children in all aspects of life. It is especially useful in the all round development of the child in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains of learning (Ibiam, 2010). According to Bedrova & Leong (2003) play is a specific behaviour involving divergent thinking usually used to describe the activities of children from babyhood until the early teenage years. They also argue that play is something in which humans of all ages, from diverse cultures engage in, although the purpose for and the type of play may be different across ages and culture.
A commonly held belief among those in Early Childhood Education is that play is the most important activity of young children because it is during play that children are at their most competent form. Children learn best not when they are told but when they can act on their environment and construct knowledge for themselves. It gives children fun, joy and help in developing the child’s personality, realization of their potentials and to experience the satisfaction of success. Children have other forms of play such as hide and seek, art, running, climbing building and others but dramatic play provides distinctive, lasting benefits for total development of the child.
Dramatic play can be defined as a type of play where children accept assigned roles, and then act out. It can be seen as a term that refers to everyday make-believe games that kids naturally enjoy (Maureen, 2003). Dramatic play occurs when children adopt roles and use make believe transformations to act out stories. In dramatic play, children bring existing skills and act of dramatic play in turn enhances these existing skills. The skill-set that develops through dramatic play are role playing, use of materials, pretending, attention span, social skills and communication. Children say what they feel and feel what they say. They unashamedly use erroneous conceptions and unintentional puns. In play and demonstration experience, children integrate emotions, thinking and motivation to establish natural connections critical to effective brain functioning (Lester & Russell, 2008). When they engage in play, they use imagination and imitation which require complex cognitive or intellectual processes. The understanding that they have built through play experience are symbolized by things, action plots and behaviors.
Play and demonstration give children opportunities to explore, talk to each other and solve problems with the help and supervision of their teachers.
Recent research on emergent literacy, has revealed that play and demonstration can make important contributions to children early reading and writing development. The development of cognitive skills, including dispositions for learning, (such as curiosity and persistence) memory and thinking skills and language and literacy skills have strong links to play (Bedrova & Leong, 2003). They also agree that play and demonstration is an integral part of a well rounded preschool programme as it is healthy for early childhood development.
Play can help the educator of young children meet the co-curricular goals and build the children developing literacy skills. It allows children to experiment with purpose for literacy things they have seen at home, to recognize that different tasks require texts to produce a wide variety of texts and by demonstrating things they have heard for them.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Play and demonstration method helps the children learn to assert themselves in a way to build their competence in later adult roles. The ability to experiment with demonstrations, problem solving and conflict resolution while promoting abstract thinking, helps the child’s ability to develop, thereby contributing greatly to the holistic development of young children.
Demonstration has some educational purposes/ values. It fosters creativity of thoughts, imagination, strategies for problems solving and the development of divergent thinking ability. Some of the key components of holistic development including characteristic of how children demonstrate each area. These areas of growth are interrelated and independent. Growth in one area reinforces and promotes growth in the other areas.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
- To examine the effect of play on preschool literary skills.
- To examine the effect of demonstration method on preschool literary skills.
- To find out how play and demonstration method can be used for a holistic development of a child.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the effect of play on preschool literary skills?
- What is the effect of demonstration method on preschool literary skills?
- How can play and demonstration method be used for a holistic development of a child?
HO1: There is no significant relationship between play and literary skill development in preschool children
HA1: There is significant relationship between play and literary skill development in preschool children
HO2: There is no significant relationship between demonstration method and literary skill development in preschool children
HA2: There is significant relationship between demonstration method and literary skill development in preschool children.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
- The outcome of this study will enlighten the school teachers in nursery schools, nursery school managements and the general public on the impact of play and demonstration methods on the development and perfection of literary skills among preschool children.
- This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study is limited to Nursery school teachers in nursery schools in Ovia North East Local government area. It will also cover the effect of play and demonstration methods on literary skills in preschool children.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
Ibiam J. Approaches and Materials in Childhood Education: Nsukka: University of Nigeria, 2010.
Bedrova E, Leong DJ. The importance of being playful. Education Leadership, 2003; 60(7):50-53.
Maureen C. Interactive Toys and Children’s Education: Strategies for Educators and Parents. Childhood Education Winter 2003, 81-85.
Lester E, Russel B. Play Development from birth to age four, in D.P. Fromberg and D. Bergen. (Eds). Play from birth to twelve: context, perspectives and meaning (2nd Ed.). New York: Routeldge, 2008.