University of Pretoria
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Construction play in early childhood

posted on 2024-06-14, 13:44 authored by Karen PienaarKaren Pienaar

This data contains all the data that was sampled from all six research sites. The data consist of semi-structured interviews, structured narratives, observations of the learning environments, play observation of participants with construction materials, Polya's problem-solving techniques and personal information regarding the participants.

All the sampling resources and documents went through a coding process. These codes were then broken down into categories, themes and sub-themes. After thematic analysis took place, the research findings were divided into three themes and nine sub-themes. The goal of these themes and sub-themes was to assist the researcher in answering the primary and secondary research questions.

The data describes what the learning environments looked like and what education material the teachers used at each research site. The data documented as the research participants participated and engaged in different construction play. The data documented what materials the participants played with as well as the stage of construction play. During the observation session at each research site, as the researcher I resumed the role of a complete observer. The researcher was a non-participant observing the construction play sessions from a distance. Researcher participated when needed and to set the problem that the young children needed to solve by use of construction materials. The researcher had drawn up a guided observation checklist to ensure the critical aspects of the phenomenon regarding construction play are fully observed.

The participants were given a problem that they needed to solve using a wide range of construction materials. The observation was documented using Poya's prblem-solving strategies. Polya believes in four stages of problem-solving. He says that young children start at the first stage, understanding the unknown problem. The second step in Polya’s four stages of problem-solving is to devise a plan. In the third step of Polya’s four stages of problem-solving, a plan needs to be carried out. Lastly, children have to look back and check their work.

Personal questions were asked to all the teachers from each research site regarding their background information and qualifications. From the analysed background information it is evident that only two teachers have more than 40 years of teaching experience; one teacher has 13 years of teaching experience, and most teachers have less than ten years of teaching experience. Importantly, none of the primary research participants has only one year of teaching experience. The researcher wanted to determine if the teachers’ years of teaching experience could influence the way they implement construction play to enhance young children’s problem-solving skills.

The photovoice section of this study is here to give a visual representation of what transpired during the construction play and research sessions at each school. Different schools with diverse criteria were visited in the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces. The criteria of the schools ranked from private alone standing schools in the city, public schools joined with a primary school, public school in the inner city separate from the primary school, a public school in a rural area separate from the primary school and private alone standing schools on the outer region of the city. Photographs were used to document the construction play materials, the environment where the constructions are built and the children's different structures, for this study. The researcher adhered to the ethical considerations, and therefore, no child’s face is visible in the photographs, and received permission from all the parents to use these visual images in my research.



Early Childhood Education

Sustainable Development Goals

  • 4 Quality Education