Original Research

Implementing play pedagogies within rural early childhood development centres: Practitioners’ views

Mmakgabo A. Selepe, Mahudi M. Mofokeng, Blanche N. Hadebe-Ndlovu
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 14, No 1 | a1387 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v14i1.1387 | © 2024 Mmakgabo A. Selepe, Mahudi M. Mofokeng, Blanche N. Hadebe-Ndlovu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 2023 | Published: 28 March 2024

About the author(s)

Mmakgabo A. Selepe, Department of Childhood, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Mahudi M. Mofokeng, Department of Childhood, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Phuthaditjhaba, South Africa
Blanche N. Hadebe-Ndlovu, Department of Childhood, Faculty of Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Early childhood development (ECD) practitioners are encouraged to implement play pedagogies and their views of play as a pedagogy in rural settings have not been captured widely. They are the main role players in implementing play pedagogies for learners’ learning and development. The commitment to play can be traced through theory and ideology in early childhood programmes internationally and in South Africa.

Aim: This study explored the views and beliefs of the practitioners about the use of play pedagogy in rural ECD centres.

Setting: Six practitioners from three rural primary schools in Limpopo, South Africa, participated in the study.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews, document analysis and nonparticipant observation were used to collect data.

Results: The participants found integrating play pedagogies when planning their lessons and assessing children’s progress challenging. The results showed that ECD practitioners in rural centres lack the skills and material resources to implement play pedagogies.

Conclusion: The study suggests that ECD practitioners in rural areas need professional development opportunities in the implementation of play activities as a teaching pedagogy.

Contribution: These findings can be used to assist ECD practitioners in rural areas in implementing play pedagogies. Educators could use low-cost, locally available materials such as natural resources, recycled materials or everyday objects to create play-based activities that could involve indigenous songs and games relevant to the children’s cultural and social context. They could collaborate with parents and community members to develop and implement play-based activities, leveraging the knowledge and skills of the local community.


Keywords

play; pedagogies; ECD practitioners; learning; zone of proximal development; rural areas

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 4: Quality education

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