“Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity”
-Kay Redfield Jamison
The ‘Sparks’ children have enjoyed the ‘Market Place’ activity this term. The aim was to create a supermarket setting using play food, empty food containers with prices, play money, and toy cash register.
This grocery store dramatic play is always a huge crowd-pleaser for our Sparks since they are familiar with this routine. They often have rich life experiences with it and are able to act it out in complex and engaging ways.
During group time, we learnt about the value of dollars and cents. We started by introducing the proper use of monetary values as would be used in real life situations, which includes some concept of the mathematical process of getting change out of an amount and why. Single digit prices have been successfully used, for example getting two dollars back after purchasing an item that cost $3 from a $5 note. Although the Sparks children are well aware of the use of money in real life, many of them for the first time appreciated the concept of budgeting a limited amount of money to use for their needs. In this way, we use mathematics in a practical way that allows children to see how useful numbers are in their everyday life.
By engaging in dramatic play, children in Sparks have enhanced their social skills and their ability to negotiate spaces and roles, cooperating to keep the play happening, acting out roles and situations. Furthermore, they are developing their literacy skills by asking and answering questions, using language related to a role they are playing e.g., “May I take your order?” or “How much is this”.
During this experience children have questioned the option of paying using their phone and credit card as they were imitating what they were experiencing at home which demonstrated their ability to adopt what they have learnt from one environment to another.
What next: We will continue to incorporate dramatic play experiences such as market place with the aim to build mental flexibility – an important executive function skill.