Play and socialisation

The motivation here is that, through play, the child learns roles and behavioural patterns which always belong to the adult world.

In particular, Leontjev (1977) shows that play is a reproduction of the adult world and that, in “let’s pretend” play, the children themselves think up only very little that is new or original. The role of the adults or the role of the game is to teach the child the society’s correct functions and symbols and this is achieved via direct involvement - control, correction - in the child’s play.

Elkonen (1971) indicates that the basis for abstract thought is founded through play, where children develop the ability to liberate themselves from the stereotype character of play and instead turn the activity into targeted working processes.

Vygotskji (1962, 1967) plots an individual course for himself within this theoretical sphere and explains how a child’s ability to change his personal relationship to his environment occurs as the value of the action in play is gradually apportioned greater significance than the value and significance of the situation or object itself.

However, what these theories have in common is that, during their development, they were subject to the general political ideology which (in the Soviet Union) was quite literally enforced but which has now more or less died away and incidentally bears no influence whatever on the content of this book.




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