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This research work deals with play equipment as a determinant of children’s acquisition of numeracy skills. It is a descriptive survey in which a self-constructed questionnaire was employed for data collection. The sample consists of 60 teachers randomly selected from some primary schools in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State. The study reveals the non-availability of some play equipment for teaching numeracy skills in the sampled schools; and therefore recommends the provision of these equipment to enhance children’s acquisition of numeracy skills.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Background to the Study
Statement of the Problem
Scope of the Study
Significance of the Study
Definition of Terms
Concept of Play
2.1.1 Meaning of Play
2.2 Play and Learning
2.3 History of Play Equipment
2.4 Types of Play Equipment
2.4.1 Outdoor Play Equipment
2.4.2 Indoor Play Equipment
2.4.3 Play Equipment Used to Teach Numeracy Skills
2.5 Stages of Play
2.6 Representation of Numbers
2.7 Early Numeracy and Basic Mathematics
2.8 The Importance of Acquisition of Numeracy Skills in Early Childhood
2.8.1 Things we can do to help Child Learn about using Number
2.8.2 Sand and Numeracy Skills
2.9 Childhood Influences
2.9.0 Socio-Economic Status (SES)
2.9.2 Home-Learning Environment
2.10 The Factors that Decline the Use of Play Equipment
Population for the Study
Sample and Sampling Techniques
Validation of Research Instrument
Method of Data Collection
Method of Data Analysis
Data Presentation and Analysis
4.2 Summary of findings
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Learning through play is a term used in education and psychology to describe how children can learn to make sense of the world around them. Through play, children can develop social and cognitive skills, mature emotionally and gain the self confidence required to engage in new experiences and environments. Key ways that young children learn include playing, being with other people, being active, exploring new experiences, communication with others, meeting physical and mental challenges, being shown how to do new things, practicing and repeating skills and having fun.
According to proponents of the concepts, play enables children to make sense of the world. Children possess a natural curiosity to explore, and play acts as a medium to do so. The characteristics of play include the following:
- Play must be pleasurable and enjoyable
- Play must have no extrinsic goals, that is, there is no prescribed learning that must occur.
- Play is spontaneous and voluntary
- Play involves active engagement on the part of the player
- Play involves an element of make-believe
- Play is mostly a self-chosen activity by the child, rather than prescribed by a parent or a teacher.
According to Dietze and Kashin (1998) in order for an activity to be considered play, the experience must include a measure of inner control, ability to bend or invent reality and a strong internally based motivation for playing.
Play is not wasted time, but rather time spent building new knowledge from previous experience. It also reduces stress and strikes a balance between the body and mind. The way that children learn through play is culturally specifical as a result of differences in child rearing beliefs, values and practices.
Evidence from neuroscience shows that the early years of a children’s development from birth to age six set the basis for learning behaviour and health throughout life. The child’s neural pathways influence their development through exploration, thinking, problem solving and language expression which occur during play episodes.
Numeracy is the ability to reason and to apply simple numeral concepts. Basic numeracy skills consist of comprehending fundamental mathematics such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Learning occurs when children play with blocks, paint a picture or play make believe. During play, children try new things, solve problems, invent, create, test ideas and explore.
The purpose of play in active learning is that it motivates, stimulates and supports children in their development skills, concepts, language acquisition and concentration. It also provides opportunities for children to develop positive attitudes and demonstrate the use of recent learning skills and competences and to consolidate learning. Play helps children learn by connecting their senses and new language that contributes to their learning.
Play is active, child-initiated, process oriented, intrinsic, episodic, rule governed and symbolic. Children have different ideas of play in comparison to adults. A child who is pretending to cook may have the belief that he or she is working and contributing to the family. It is necessary for parents to collaborate with their child in simple learning exercises, such as reading a book, painting, drawing and playing with numbers.
According to Singer (2003), through play, children can be anyone they wish and go anywhere they want. When they engage in sociodramatic play, they learn how to cope with feelings, how to bring the large confusing world into small, manageable size and how to become socially adapt as they share, take turns and cooperate with each other. In early childhood and infancy, children learn to identify sounds, taste, colors and shapes through play equipment. All these are actually the foundation of reality. In elementary schools children use play to gain knowledge of cooperation, friendship and mutual respect. According to a report in 2007 by the American Academy for Pediatrics, play not only facilitates the development of behaviour but also develops the growth of the brain as well.
Play equipment helps children to develop their fine, manipulative and gross motor skills and provides opportunities for them to interact with each other without even realizing that they are socializing. It also develops muscular coordination and control of bodily movement. Through play, children learn a set of skills such as social skills, creativity, hand-eye- coordination, problem solving and imagination. Children learn better through play than through flash cards or academic drill.
There is therefore the need to investigate the influence of play equipment in enhancing cognitive development in general, and the acquisition of numeracy skills in particular.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The purpose of this research is to look at the play equipment as a determinant of children acquisition of numeracy skills. This project sought to find out how play equipment could help children to acquire numeracy skills in their early stage and how play equipment can influence their learning.
- RESEARCH QUESTIONS
This study sought answers to the following questions:
- What is preprimary school teachers perception of the types o f play equipment that could help children to acquire numeracy skills?
- What types of play equipments are being used in the sampled schools to teach children numeracy?
- What is preprimary school teacher perception of the influence of the use of play equipment on children acquisition of numeracy skills.?
- SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is an attempt to look into play equipment as a determinant of children’s acquisition of numeracy skills. It is delimited to public and private pre-primary schools in Abeokuta South Local Government Area of Ogun State.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The findings of this study would help to equip the teachers with necessary knowledge to promote good learning habit and numeracy skills in pre-schools. It would also bring to light the play equipment which are indispensable for teaching children numeracy. The government as well as school proprietors would benefit from this study in that it would underscore the need for the provision of required play equipment in order to ensure children’s acquisition of numeracy skills. The play equipment found to enhance children’s acquisition of numeracy skills could also be provided by parents for their children to play with at home in order to strengthen their skills, consolidate what they have learnt and complement the effect of the teachers in school.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Play: It simply means an act done without any external cause. It brings together ideas and feelings of children. It occurs naturally and children learn what they can never be taught through play.
Equipment: Is an instrumentality needed for an undertaking, the necessary items for a particular purpose or the tool that is needed for a particular job or security.
Determinant: Is a factor which decisively affects the nature or outcome of something.
Children: Refers to individuals between the ages 2 to 5 years.
Numeracy: Is the ability to understand and work with numbers. It also helps to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts
Acquisition: It occurs at the beginning of the learning process when the response is first established.
Skill: is the ability to carryout a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time or energy.
Keywords: PLAY EQUIPMENT AS A DETERMINANT OF CHILDREN’S ACQUISITION OF NUMERACY SKILLS
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