Chapter educators. As with all levels of education, there

Chapter
1

The Problem

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Background
of the study

Preschool is
about “…children who ‘wonder if…’imagine, create, fail, discover,
manageconflict, solve problems, try, persevere, help, succeed and love the
freedom to lead and learnthrough play”.

Early
childhood education has progressed throughout the years. Many influential
scholarsincluding Piaget, Vygotsky, Dewey, Froebel, and Rousseau, have
developed philosophies aboutearly childhood education. Their thoughts are
explored and utilized in classrooms today andimpact the philosophies of many
early childhood educators.

As with all
levels of education, there are multiple approaches to teaching in
earlychildhood education. One approach, teacher-directed instruction, focuses
on teaching specificskills directly to children. When Froebel established
kindergarten more than 150 years ago, playwas a big focus, but it was not free
play; instead it was highly teacher-directed(Sjoerdsma,
2009).

According to
the Iowa Department of Education (2015), “Children persist in and complete a
variety of both caregiver-directed and self-initiated tasks,activities,
projects, and experiences”. There is a place for teacher-directed instruction
in the preschool setting, but it is not the only teaching approach that should
be used because it focuses on what the teacher wants to teach instead of
focusing on children’s interests and experiences.

Recent research
indicates that play-based instruction ensures that students are, in fact,
learning. Gopnik (2011) wrote, “While learning from a teacher may help children
get to a specific answer more quickly, it also makes them less likely to
discover new information about a problem and to create a new and unexpected
solution”. He also argued that preschool should not be like school and that
while adults may think that most learning happens because of teaching and that
learning is less likely to happen through spontaneous exploration, in fact,
spontaneous learning is more fundamental.

Over time, as
more early childhood programs developed, teacher-directed instructionbecame
more student-centered and play-based. In student-centeredclassrooms, students
are directly involved and invested in the discovery of their own knowledge. Active
learning and cooperative learning are also a big part of student-centeredclassrooms.

Play-based
instruction is very similar to student-centered instruction, but is
specificallygeared toward preschool and has a focus on play. Through play,
children create, adapt, explore,experiment, learn, communicate, socialize, and
problem solve. Play allowschildren to build and extend their knowledge and
skills as they interact with their environment, with others, and on their own.

Play based
learning draws from children’s natural desire to

engage in experiences
based on their interests, strengthsand developing skills. When children
initiate play, they aremore motivated to learn and develop positive
dispositionstowards learning. The educator’s role in supporting playbased
learning is vital. They are responsible in engaging in sustained shared
conversationswithin play experience to extend children’s thinking,provide a
balance between child led, childinitiated and educator supported learning; create
learning environments to support learning, interact with babies and
childrenwithin play to build attachment, support the inclusion of all children
in play, and

recognizespontaneous
teachable momentsas they occur and using intentional teachingstrategies such as
demonstrating, and engagingin shared thinking and problem solving (Cole, 2016).

Play provides
the most natural and meaningful processby which children can construct
knowledge andunderstandings, practice skills, immerse themselvesnaturally in a
broad range of literacy and numeracyand engage in productive, intrinsically
motivating learning environments (Walker, 2007).

Play is vital
to children’s wellbeing and sense of belonging,and forms the basis of who they
become in the future.These elements form the vision of the national
frameworkand should be reflected in a play based program. Whenplay and learning
are woven together, children are morelikely to develop positive dispositions
towards learningand real understandings of the world around them. Thisenhances
their sense of self and gives them a strongfoundation from which they can
become competentand capable individuals in a changing world.

Locally, in
the study of Caliaga (2016), he mentioned that play is the core of kindergarten
learning. Play facilitates creativity, imagination, the expression of
fantasies, and it enables learners to

deal with frustration and
disappointment in a positive manner. When one keeps the core strong and allow
it to be the basis of one’s practice, one is building a strong foundation. At
this core is one key element which is play-based learning.

          Also, during the administration of President Benigno S.
Aquino III, Republic Act 10533 known as the “Enhanced Basic Education Act of
2013” was implemented declaring that the State shall establish, maintain and support a complete,
adequate, and integrated system of education relevant to the needs of the
people, the country and society-at-large.

The enhanced basic education program encompasses
at least one (1) year of kindergarten education, six (6) years of elementary
education, and six (6) years of secondary education, in that sequence.
Secondary education includes four (4) years of junior high school and two (2)
years of senior high school education.

Kindergarten education shall mean one (1) year of
preparatory education for children at least five (5) years old as a
prerequisite for Grade I.

Elementary education refers to the second stage of
compulsory basic education which is composed of six (6) years. The entrant age
to this level is typically six (6) years old.

Secondary education refers to the third stage of
compulsory basic education. It consists of four (4) years of junior high school
education and two (2) years of senior high school education. The entrant age to
the junior and senior high school levels are typically twelve (12) and sixteen
(16) years old, respectively.

Basic education shall be delivered in languages
understood by the learners as the language plays a strategic role in shaping
the formative years of learners.

For kindergarten and the first three (3) years of
elementary education, instruction, teaching materials and assessment shall be
in the regional or native language of the learners. The Department of Education
(DepED) shall formulate a mother language transition program from Grade 4 to
Grade 6 so that Filipino and English shall be gradually introduced as languages
of instruction until such time when these two (2) languages can become the
primary languages of instruction at the secondary level.

For purposes of this Act, mother language or first
Language (LI) refers to language or languages first learned by a child, which
he/she identifies with, is identified as a native language user of by others,
which he/she knows best, or uses most. This includes Filipino sign language
used by individuals with pertinent disabilities. The regional or native
language refers to the traditional speech variety or variety of Filipino sign
language existing in a region, area or place.

Play-based
learning does not happen in a vacuum, it is usually undertaken within a
physical and social space. One of the greatest benefits of playful learning is
to assist with the development of social competence. Learners can build
relationships, learn to resolve conflicts, negotiate and regulate their
behaviors. In play-based learning, learners usually have increased feeling of
success and optimism as they act on their own agents and make their own
choices. Playing is a known stress release; it is often linked to learner
well-being.

It is on the
above issues and premises that prompt the researcher to conduct this study
which focuses on assessing the use of play-based approachesin the public
elementaryschools of La Trinidad District, Schools Division of Benguet.

Conceptual  Framework

The
framework of this study was anchored on John Dewey’s Experiential Learning
Theory

          Experiential learning theory is a philosophy and
methodology in which educators purposely engage with learners’ indirect
experience and focused reflection. Experiential learning is also referred to as
learning through action, learning by doing, learning through experience, and
learning through discovery and exploration.

          Through play-based learning activities, pupils would be
engaged intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically which would
produce a learning that is authentic. Through this experiential learning
process, the learners are actively engaged in posing questions, investigating,
experimenting, solving problems, being creative, curious, and constructive
which would lead to achieve  a life-long
learning.

 

          Furthermore, teachers, theorists and researchers believe
that learners best learn from hands-on learning or based on the learner’s
experiences. This implies that learning is more effective when it starts from
the learners. From such learning, the learners would be able to develop such
knowledge and could transform it into another meaningful knowledge. This is
further supported by Benjamin Franklin’s maxim which states, “Tell me and I
forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I will learn.” Align with this,
integration of puzzles in the learning process, the learning that had
transpired wouldn’t be easily forgotten.

Experiential learning enables children to pursue
their own areas of interest and to work through problems as they arise in a
real-life situations. They are not simply working out what 2 + 2 equals because
the teacher says it’s important, they are working out how many toys they have,
how many biscuits the dog eats, or how many pairs of shoes they need to pick
up. A common complaint from both primary school and high school-age children is
that they don’t see the point of some of the work they are being asked to.
Experiential learning demonstrates the practical uses of maths, science and
other learning areas.

Experiential learning can also be important for
letting kids experience the reality of ‘failure’ and how to overcome setbacks
and challenges. They can feel pride when they eventually find a way to do
something because they learned to do it themselves, not because someone told
them the answer.

Experiential learning is collaborative and enables
children to work out their own unique strategy (with some support), rather than
following a set formula to arrive at an answer. They will be more likely to
think creatively in the future, rather than assuming that all problems have
“right” and “wrong” answers and “right” and “wrong” ways of getting there.

Play enables children to act out alternative
scenarios and to find different ways to express social or emotional
difficulties. They can learn assertiveness, social skills, leadership qualities
and how to solve group-conflict through role-play and using the play space as a
rehearsal for real-life situations. Learning is not just about academic
pursuits but also about life skills.

It is very important to realize that we can learn
from children too. Sometimes they tell us something about themselves or the
world that we might not have noticed because we are so busy telling them how
things should be done. Some of the most interesting observations come from
children because they are still figuring out how the world works and finding
their own place within it.

          It is along these thrusts and concepts where the framework
of this study was anchored.

Paradigm
of the Study

          The operational paradigm of the study showed the flow of
the study as shown in figure 1.

For
the input box, it contained the types of play used in play-based approaches
that were assessed in this study.

          Furthermore, this study as indicated in the process box
made use of quantitative-descriptive method of research. The questionnaire was
the main data gathering tool that was augmented by informal interviews. Afterwards,
the data gathered were subjected to statistical analysis specified in chapter
2.

          Finally, for the output box, this study revealed the
effectiveness of the different types of play and its benefits to the learners.
Also, it will show the barriers that affect its implementation and the most
preferred solutions for the barriers encountered.

 

 

 

 

 

INPUT

 

PROCESS

 

OUTPUT

 
 
 
 
Types of play used in play-based approaches

 

Quantitative-descriptive method
 
–     
Data
gathering tool:
Questionnaire
Informal

interviews
 
–     
Statistical
Treatment and Analysis
 
 

 
 
 
 
Effectiveness of the
different types of play used in play-based approaches

 

 

Figure 1

Paradigm of the study

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Statement
of the Problem

The focus of this study was to look
into the play-based approaches utilized by kindergarten teachers in the public
elementary schools of La Trinidad District, Schools Division of Benguet.

          Specifically,
the study sought to answersto the following questions:

1.  
What are the different types of play used in
play-based approaches?

2.  
What are benefits of play-based approaches to
the learners?

3.  
What are barriers encountered in the
effective utilization of play-based approaches?

4.  
What are needed measures to address the barriers
encountered in the effective utilization of play-based approaches?

Null
Hypotheses

1.  
There is no significant difference in the responses
of the school heads and teachers on the level of effectiveness of the different
types of play used in play-based approaches.

2.  
There is no significant difference in the
responses of the school heads and teachers on the extent of benefits of
play-based approaches to the learners.

3.  
There is no significant difference in the
responses of the school heads and teachers on the degree of seriousness of the
barriers encountered in the effective utilization of play-based approaches.

4.  
There is no significant difference in the responses
of the school heads and teachers on the degree of need of measures to address
the barriers encountered in the effective utilization of play-based approaches.

 

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