Written preparation for the targeted free play impulse
Below is a glimpse into planning a targeted free play stimulus for a daycare child. In this example, the pedagogical activity was planned according to a progression model (cf. Pausewang 2006, p. 163f).
Description of all development areas
Emotional-social development area
M. plays mostly for himself. When he plays with other children, he does so with joy and over a period of time (for example, M. plays with three other children in the construction area). He also asserts himself over other children (A. removed the keys from the construction site area while playing with M.. While A. briefly turned around, M. retrieved the keys and this three times in a row, so that M. had his keys back each time).
Establishing contact with other children is still somewhat difficult for him. Nevertheless, M. seeks physical contact with other children (takes other children’s hands and often hugs them during play).
M. copes well with the separation from parents during daycare. M. regularly reports which parent brought him to kindergarten and who will pick him up at noon. M. is sometimes emotionally unbalanced, which is sometimes shown by outbursts of crying. The expression of emotions (mimic and gestural) of M. is very pronounced.
Gross motor development area
The gross motor development area in M. is well developed, especially in the areas of locomotion and sitting. Crawling, crawling as well as walking is possible. M. performs rotational movements of the upper body to change position without problems (M. rocks independently on the swing device in the outdoor play area). M. also raises, tilts and turns his head. M. moves both arms freely without restrictions. M. runs safely and stably even longer distances during excursions.
Fine motor development area
M. uses the fist grip regularly when playing. M. hardly uses the tweezer grip on both the right and left sides and rarely places objects purposefully (grasps a train with the fist grip and performs an untargeted placing of the train on a rail). M. also eats with a fork and thus participates in meals almost independently. Only when cutting meat or spreading hard butter with a knife, for example, does he need help.
Linguistic development area
M.’s language skills are limited. The vocabulary includes fewer words than usual according to common development tables. He forms two-word sentences to make himself linguistically noticeable (for example, when he needs help or wants something; when he wants toys back: “M. have”). Speech comprehension is well developed. M. responds to speech and understands instructions from daycare staff.
Cognitive development area
M. is aware of the environment and is clearly oriented in space (for example, he knows he is in the play kitchen area and wants to put fruits and vegetables on plates there, or in the lunchroom he looks for his place and wants to put on his bib). He solves puzzles in the age range 2-3 years. He also uses extraneous objects to solve problems (during free play outside, M. used a rake as a substitute for a shovel due to a missing shovel). M. understands instructions of the educators and implements them purposefully.
Description of the child’s interests & topics
M.’s interest is currently moving around positions in the play areas as well as transferring quantities (e.g., putting fruits and vegetables into plates and then putting them back into the box). Likewise, picture books are currently an interest of M.
From my point of view, one of M’s current issues is integrating and interacting with the other children in the group. Because M. currently always wants to move around the room and change play areas. He also sits in one play area constantly for a certain time (usually 15-20 minutes), but then he wants to change it several times. During the change, M. does not want to reach the new area as quickly as possible, but rather wants to be on the road as long as possible and explore the world on foot.
Virtually all corners and areas of the room are explored beforehand. At each play corner, M. seeks to play together with other children. He always gives toys to the other children so that they can play with them together.
Based on M’s interests and subject matter, I plan with the developmental and educational field of the body as the focal area. I set as a rough goal the differentiation and refinement of fine motor skills and abilities.
To achieve my broad goal, I have carved out a total of 3 fine goals. I selected the fine targets based on my analysis in the fine motor area.
- Fine target: M. independently assembles two half toy tomatoes.
- Fine goal: M. transfers a dinner plate filled with play fruit to another dinner plate.
- Fine target: M. applies the tweezer grip to both hands simultaneously.
Justification of the planned free play pulse
Based on M.’s interests and topics, I chose the developmental field of the body for the free play impulse. M. sits in the play kitchen area during free play almost every day and explores the world there. Due to his current development, I would like to strengthen his fine motor skills as well as promote the coordination of both hands.
These activities touch on the developmental fields of body, senses and thinking, with the body being the main developmental field. As an impulse, I would like to offer M. the handling of toy fruits and vegetables as well as the dishes. For this we sit down at the dining table of the free play area play kitchen. There, M. has the opportunity to take the fruits and vegetables as well as the cutlery and dishes out of the boxes and put them on the table.
Previous experience in the play kitchen area with the materials available was gained during my block internship with other children. Here I could see that the children imitate the food in particular in a playful way. By setting specific stimuli (e.g. with the tomato cut in two: Look at what the tomato looks like from the inside), it was possible to promote development in the areas of motor skills, senses and cognition in particular. For these reasons, I saw the planned free play stimulus for M. as helpful in promoting his fine motor skills.
Justification of the pulse design
The planned stimuli are based on the set goals and are intended to encourage M. to work with the materials provided. They do not have the goal of directly asking M. to execute the planned detailed objectives. To achieve this goal, the motivational stimuli are free of any expected materials. I was more concerned here with arousing Ms. interest.
The impulse design during free play is focused on goal achievement and is intended to prompt M. to engage in exploratory play. Here I set impulses to increase Ms. interest if necessary or to achieve the set goals.
At the end of the free play impulse, I suspend my own impulses so that I can observe M. in free play. After a certain period of free play, I then tell M. that I will now let her continue playing on her own. This means that M.’s accompanied free play ends less abruptly.
- Hi M. I have discovered many great things in the play kitchen!
- Let’s go to the table together and we’ll take a look!
- Look M. what a great box I have here to discover!
- Super how we ran together to the table. You ran really great!
- Would you like to give me a plate too?
- Just take a look at the tomato. Have you seen these yet?
- Have you discovered a delicious banana yet? Would you like to show me these once?
- Love how you put the fruit on the plate!
I end the sending of targeted stimuli as soon as all set goals have been achieved or if M. no longer wants to participate in my planned free play, since participation must always be voluntary. Here I say to M.: “I hope you enjoyed playing in the play kitchen today! The termination of my participation in the free play follows a few minutes after the suspension of my impulses. At the end I say to M.: “I have to go to another child now and I will come to you again later, then I can watch you again!
As an alternative to the planned free play stimulus, I could offer M. a common walk to the climbing room. While this alternative builds primarily on the gross goal of expanding and refining gross motor skills, I can still achieve my goal of strengthening fine motor skills by holding my hand on the bars and reaching around while climbing.
The alternative takes into account M’s theme of body and movement, as well as his interest in moving and desire for active movement in space. Thus, the rough target can be achieved alternatively.
No outside sources were used in this text
Goetz, S. (2020). Plan free play pulse. Impulse setting during free play. ISSN: 2748-2979. Accessed 12/12/2020. Available at: https://krippenzeit.de/freispielimpuls-planen/