When in my Pre-K Counts field placement, I have observed that my classroom of kids does not have many toys to play with during free play. I noticed last week when the children were outside that they only had 2 buckets, a football, and the playground equipment that consisted of a play structure with a slide, some water tables, and another structure that looked like a house where the kids could climb up on top. I also noticed how there were not many children playing together. Thinking back on this on a deeper level, I was truly pondering the question:
Does the amount of toys provided during free play impact a child’s development?
I always remembered there being an abundance of toys at my preschool, such as playground balls and sidewalk chalk.
Trying to find answers to my question and receiving no luck with Academic Search Ultimate, I navigated to NAEYC.org. Professor Jeffery Trawick-Smith talks about how his group studies how toys are assessed to help promote thinking/learning/problem-solving, social interactions and overall creativity for children. This is a great thing to think about and add to how I am seeing my field placement, but it is also really upsetting because when I individually am thinking about what the toys are provided at this school, they are very basic and do not really help at all with social interactions.
Sad with my first attempt, I went back to Academic Search Complete and tried some new keywords, finding an article that goes into great detail about the play contents that a typical 5-6 year old student comes across, and how it relates to their growth. This helped me to confirm that toys directly relate to growth, but it didn’t really say how many toys a child needs to be exposed to.
Overall from the research I found, I can conclude that based off of the toys that are provided in the center and how they promote those thinking/learning/problem-solving skills, as well as social and creativity promotion is all that really matters. If these toys do cater to these needs of development, they are helping the child grow to their full potential.
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