Parents and children collaborating at the pictorial wall
Designing on a T-Shirt is another interesting play form that offers much scope for creativity. Young children were captivated by the task. Some put their hard work to practical use by wearing the shirt immediately after they had put their heart and sweat into the designs.
At the Community Complex, many parents picked up useful tips from experts who shared some of their observations from studying children at play. One panelist shared her findings that all children wanted to be with their parents as indicated in their narratives for the pictures they drew, which always contain a participating parent event though the parents were not made visible in the picture. Another expert noticed that a child might develop a routinized feeling towards extracurricular classes that they are enrolled in if they are not provided with their own play time. Going to a music lesson, for example, is not the same as playing the instrument on their own and recognizing their particular strength in the musical genre.
More importantly, an expert also informed that pre-school children lacking drawing ability may indicate a lack of confidence due to the fear of drawing something incorrectly. The resolution is simply to encourage the child to draw openly according to her own view. Confidence would eventually develop from the drawing task. Another expert reminded parents that it is acceptable to have play-talk with young children as a form of bonding. Conversation need not always be a question-answer formulaic sequence. Questions may lead to more questions as a form of interactivity between parents and children.
Playeum reminds me that, despite a nightmarish experience in primary school, my language development was rescued by means of playful methodology such as mimicking a cartoon's words, or aping the puppet characters' pronunciation through pseudo-personification. The joy of watching and listening to English on television was all the more important because English as a subject was only spoken occasionally during contact time for a total of 4-5 hours a week many decades ago. One might recall the mimicking effort of a three year-old girl learning to sing in formal Mandarin phrases while dancing in front of the television according to the Chinese music video (Sew, 2013).
Readers of this blog entry are welcome to share their experiences of playing or playful activities that have contributed to their language or personal development.
Sew, Jyh Wee. (2013). Sing to read. Grammar Gang. http://thegrammargang.blogspot.sg/2013/08/sing-to-read.html
Jyh Wee Sew
Centre for Language Studies
Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
Kent Ridge Campus, National University of Singapore