One thing I admire about Takoma Park, is the way they have archived all their play scenarios (play arcs is their term) from the start of the school and do they have a wealth of children's play scenarios to draw upon. I wish I had done that since starting in my job in 2011, it would be great to see the influences that had lead to the play scenarios over the years.
This year, Disney's Frozen, is providing a big inspiration for a lot of the role play outside but not inside, perhaps there's a study to be done on this! One child is the one who freezes the others and then various other children will drift in and out of the play to help melt people or to be frozen themselves. Interestingly whilst sometimes the rescuer can be Kristoff, it is just as likely to be a storm trooper or Spider-Man as both Star Wars & super heroes have a big influence this year too. Other times the same child who is 'the ice queen' can be found being Daphne and searching for mysteries ala 'Scooby Doo'!
|Mud kitchens & outdoor 'cooking' - another aspect of role play.|
Dorothy Singer spoke of how children who engage in role play usually have higher verbal skills and that engaging in such play children learn how to defer gratification. The latter remark was made in relation to those who are primarily engaged in playing computer games etc. This remark about delayed gratification stuck with me, as I could think of a child I had in my class at one time, who played a lot of games on the X-box and iPad etc., it was all he could talk about and it took a long time for him to 'get' play in nursery. His biggest issue was turn taking and not being first, he found waiting very, very hard and even after 6 months could be heard crying out 'But I haven't had a go yet/been picked etc.' even when it was clear that lots of children were still waiting a turn.
A good leader at role play is about to give and take, they usually have great ideas for the play scenario but can be flexible and allow for character changes throughout the play. The child, I talked about before had real problems during role play, as he wanted it to always go the route he had chosen, he couldn't be flexible about characters changing of leaving or joining in half way through. Could it be because many of the games he played had a very set way of being played out?
I personally, love watching role play scenarios unfold and develop and think it is a crucial part of the curriculum for every child but it needs time to be developed over time and not just a new scenario every few weeks to help tick a box on a planning document.