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Durham e-Theses
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An empirical study of four year olds in a variety of pre-school settings

Collinson, Jean Cynthia (1988) An empirical study of four year olds in a variety of pre-school settings. Masters thesis, Durham University.



This study concentrates on the way the environment can be structured to nurture children's learning. It is concerned essentially with play as the medium through which young children learn and it seeks to identify the strengths and weaknesses of three forms/models of provision as a means of building a view of the appropriate curriculum for pre-school children. The study draws on the research design of the Oxford Preschool Research Project team, using their child watching technique, and observation coding system. The work was carried out .in three types of preschool settings, Nursery Schools, Nursery Units and Nursery Classes. Two of each type of centres were studied to enable comparisons to be made. A sample of six children, three boys and three girls from each centre, a total of thirty six children, were observed for five twenty-minute periods, documenting 3,600 minutes of behaviour. The observations revealed that one of the major influences on the content of the curriculum was the degree of autonomy each centre enjoyed. There was evidence that temporal structure had more effect upon cognitive challenge than task structure, with a significant effect upon the social grouping. They also showed the importance of sociodramatic play for facilitating the use of language to provide planning and sustaining functions. And the amount of interactions between adults and children. The evaluation of the results support the findings of the Oxford Preschool Research, that centres which have the most positive effects are characterized by "nurture”, an atmosphere of intimacy, conversation with adults and a focus on challenging and imaginative play.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1988
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Feb 2013 13:37

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