Original Research-Special Collection: Teaching and learning in the Early Years

Music-inspired free play to foster scientific exploration in early childhood

Mignon van Vreden
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 8, No 2 | a560 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v8i2.560 | © 2018 Mignon van Vreden | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 July 2017 | Published: 31 July 2018

About the author(s)

Mignon van Vreden, MASARA, School of Music and Conservatory, North-West University, South Africa


Background: The importance of music and play in early childhood development is widely acknowledged. However, no recent studies have investigated the potential of music-inspired free play to foster scientific exploration.


Aim: The purpose of this qualitative case study is to explain the rationale in utilising musical skills, knowledge and experiences during free play to foster scientific exploration, applying a constructivist approach with the learner placed at the centre of the educational process, while the teacher acts as observer and facilitator.


Setting: Data were primarily collected through documents to create a concept map that informed observations of preschoolers during free play at two day-care centres in Mohadin in the North-West Province of South Africa.


Methods: An explanatory case study provided the context for this study and a document analysis informed the findings.


Results: Through data analysis, key themes were identified from the literature and observations to generate a conceptual model that illustrates the influence of music-inspired free play to foster scientific exploration by stimulating creativity and emphasising the necessity of free play in preschool settings.


Conclusion: The conclusion of this investigation was a better understanding of the capacity of young learners to apply scientific exploration, utilising a transdisciplinary approach for teaching and learning the sciences in the early years to develop a better understanding of their world through music-inspired free play.


music; free play; preschool; scientific exploration; early childhood


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Crossref Citations

1. Establishing the Right to Play as an Economic, a Social and a Cultural Right
Naomi Lott
The International Journal of Children’s Rights  vol: 30  issue: 3  first page: 755  year: 2022  
doi: 10.1163/15718182-30030007