Balancing Free Play and Structured Learning Opportunities in Early Childhood Education Classrooms: Contrasting Perceptions of Teachers and Researchers
Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Psychology and University Honors
early childhood education, child-initiated, relationships, teacher-directed, guided play
This study explored how early childhood education classrooms can provide a balance of learning opportunities that are both initiated by the child and facilitated by the teacher. Three transitional/preschool teachers were interviewed along with two researchers who study preschool/kindergarten classrooms. The results of this study found four strategies that are used in early childhood education classes that allow both child exploration and adult facilitation: 1) creating close teacher-child relationships; 2) creating close lead-assistant teacher relationships; 3) using both mental and physical planning; 4) using guided questions to teach. There were interesting differences in contrasting perspectives of early childhood education teachers and researchers, especially with regard to the role of social relationships.
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Mentzer, Logan, "Balancing Free Play and Structured Learning Opportunities in Early Childhood Education Classrooms: Contrasting Perceptions of Teachers and Researchers" (2022). University Honors Theses. Paper 1290.