TECHNIQUES OF ENTERTAINMENT AND PLAY
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of the course is to provide students – in addition to theoretical knowledge concerning play – with abilities and skills in animating, promoting, leading and interpreting children’s play, including in the presence of disabled subjects. A further aim is to make students aware of the consequences – for individual development as well as for the community at large – of play privation and the distortion of children’s play that take place in our society, especially in large cities.
Course contents summary
The contents of the course are the following: the nature of children’s play, the various theories and interpretations of play, notions regarding play throughout history and in educational thought, its manifestations during human history, its imitative-reproductive vocation, its evolution during the child’s development, its many formative values and functions, the privation of the category of children’s play in consumer society and its consequences for the individual and the community. On the practical level the course will indicate appropriate ways of promoting play in the family, educational institutions, libraries, museums and youth associations, with particular attention to play in hospitals. Additional topics will include: setting up and arranging play spaces, managing the groups involved, reviving traditional children’s games, gearing play activities towards disadvantaged and/or disabled subjects, using specific pages in periodical publications for children as starting points for proposing play and manual activities, combining play activities with reading in schools and libraries, encouraging the making of toys using “poor” or “inappropriate” materials, etc.
A. Nobile, Gioco e infanzia, La Scuola, Brescia, 2002.
G. Marrone, Giocattolando, Ed. Conoscenza, Roma, currently being printed.
M.R. Simonetti, Metodologie e tecniche del gioco e dell’animazione, Anicia, Roma, 2004.
In addition to traditional classroom lectures, accompanied and followed by discussion, centre stage will be given to techniques for simulating play situations, including situations with a high coefficient of criticality, in order to provide students with the ability to motivate subjects and groups to play when they have lost interest in playing, to integrate shy, inhibited or disabled subjects into play activities, and to resolve any conflicts that may arise during collective, social and rules-based games. Role-playing games and traditional children’s games will also be reproduced, with students’ involvement, with the aim of reviving them. Students will be called upon to share any previous experiences of organising play activities, problems and difficulties encountered and solutions adopted.
The exam will be oral. In addition to demonstrating theoretical and practical knowledge of the contents of the course, students will be required to possess skills relating to organising educational activities. The exam will also assess their inventiveness and intelligent capacity to resolve potential problems or conflicts in the context of play, and to interpret children’s play behaviour.