(IJCRSEE) International Journal of Cognitive Research in science, engineering and education
Vol. 1, No.1, 2013.


MsC Sonja Veličković,
College of professional studies educators, Aleksinac, Serbia
E-mail: sonja_velickovic@hotmail.com

Abstract: The purpose of the present paper is to show the need and the potential of play activities in the elementary grades so that children quickly and easily overcome fitness problems in the transition from pre-school to the school system of education, and to at least partially alleviate the existing problem of discontinuity.
The sudden transition from the system of playing activities in the system of learning activities, based on the implementation of tasks under strict guidelines, can hardly match the current developmental abilities and needs of children. Therefore, various problems occur in the work of first-graders: it is difficult to attract his attention, he finds it difficult to work and school homework, forgets what he just heard, does not concentrate long enough, soon he gets bored in class activities, fidget, real careless mistakes, constantly repeating the same mistakes.
At the very beginning of their education, which in some ways represents a transitional period, a part of learning activities should be organized through the game, in order to overcome resistance to school.
To make it faster and easier to overcome adaptive problems of children in the school environment and learning today in educational theory and practice, we try to find a solution for the organization of educational and play activities in the learning process, at least when it comes to the junior grade.
Keywords: game, implementation, playful activity entered, educational activity


1. Introduction


Studies of games and play activities challenge the large number of scientists, researchers and scholars. Its impact on the child's development has been studied from various aspects. In recent pedagogical and psychological literature, there is a rich fund of established scientific theories providing an explanation of the origin, essence and importance of games and play activities. There is no theory of games and play activities studied them in full and complementarily, which points to a complex structure of play activities that still retains the characteristics of its development. It is not given once and for all, but rather its essence is still a major challenge for modern scholars and researchers.
The purpose of this paper is not to rehash the arguments and confirmation of the values ​​of the educational children's games, which can be found in a vast majority of foreign and domestic literature [5, 10, 11, 15, 18, 25], but one that we think is a significant possibility of using games in educational work with children in the elementary grades, and how to help your child through the game more quickly and more easily overcome the problems of adaptation to the school environment and learning. The well known is the observation that the possibilities and needs of preschool and school age are different and that in primary school increased attention given to the educational process. Unlike kindergarten where the children are organized according to focus, by choice of children, and the combined activities with the possibility of spatial and temporal flexibility in their organization, in the school plan and organize learning activities, time and content binding for all children, the function of acquiring knowledge, skills and habits students, their professional guidance.
Our intention is not to point out that children learn through play is unique or that the curriculum is based on the game's best and unique approach that supports early learning. In contrast, the goal is focused on how to set up the game as an opportunity for the realization of different activities with different models of action, interaction and communication between entities.
In educational theory was an attempt to challenge the educational value children's games and emphasize instruction as the only form of systematic learning. Today, in modern educational concepts, game education activity receives its meaning.
Play and play activities provide the opportunity for methodological compatibility of both subsystems: kindergarten and primary education, it is appropriate for children's developmental abilities and needs (in relation to the way of learning and development), offers opportunities for creative expression and teacher educators, as well as freedom in integrating the various program areas and aspects of development. In his methodical concept of playful activity should provide an adequate transition for students to gain experience of the games to the systematic acquisition of knowledge. It does not represent a finished form that is given once and for all, to be applied to many generations of students and will be universal for all program areas and aspects of development.
Play helps children develop and direct, indirect upbringing and education, and the development potential of open space for new games. Therefore, one cannot ignore the importance of the game in the organization of educational work with children in both preschool and junior primary school. Comprehensive review of preparations, organization and evaluation of children's games and the role of educators and teachers in it, supports the educational character of the game.
During the seventies, French authors Lechat, Vincelet and Kroy have tried to challenge the educational value of children's play and its educational character, pointing to its limited capabilities.[10] The game was seen as a leisure and pleasure, not the development of children's abilities. When the game gain the knowledge, skills and habits, the children follow the rules that must be done to comply with and without can express their creative potential, these authors do not consider more game in the true sense of the word. They find that the game is basically different from school activities because you do not leave anything except the said pleasure, while the children's knowledge of the end results of school activities and exercise.
Another implicit theory that arises from such a point of view that does not play and learning go hand in hand. The basis of this approach is the implicit belief that learning is a painful and arduous activity of the children should be spared as they are not "ripe" for the school.
The aforementioned objections apply games in educational work with preschool children are obviously one-sided and unacceptable from the point of view of modern conceptions of upbringing and education, according to Jan Comenius has paid great attention to learning through play. In the didactics [12] Jan Comenius in terms of learning through play stands out: "... to learn the easy way so that neither the teacher nor the students do not feel any difficulties, aversion, but to them it is pleasure."[12]
The game released school-fear, fear of testing and the assessment. The game is free, joyful, no stiffness and nervousness. The game creates interest, activates the child and struggling to master the knowledge and skills required to play. Activity in the game and encourage elements of competition and evaluation activities of other team members, as well as its own evaluation of the game. Creating favorable conditions for play: space, resources, with an atmosphere, will give students joy of discovering the expression of personal needs and interests, which is certainly important at the beginning of their education. One of the aims of enabling secure start of  children, "Do all children have access to high - quality game and its educational opportunities for learning, in order to facilitate the progress of children for early learning in school."[22]
What for us is important to play activities through the curriculum to be an integral part of the teaching process. This is the first step of the practical implementation of game-playing activities in the teaching process.


2. Organized learning through play


Numerous scientific and practical researches on the importance and role play mainly related to the pre-school period. Increasingly felt the need for its use and early school period, but in terms differently, terms of teaching, learning, acquisition of knowledge, skills and abilities, and so on.
In our educational system, there is still a sudden interruption in the way of encouraging and motivating children in the way of knowledge transfer, diverting the course of development of children in which the child has previously been directed, all of which makes its adaptation in the other subsystem (from pre-school to primary). This is especially noticeable in the educational work with children in the year before and one after school age (between 6 to 8-and-me year). "The more you distort gradual transition from preschool to school age life. Which violates the blinder years build dynamic stereotype, this heavier, longer-lasting and less adequately to the body until yesterday preschool child adopt various new forms of activities and how they are organized".[1]
It is well known that preschool children learn through play, the game is their main activity. However, one should not ignore the fact that when children go to school and feel the need to play. Play helps children develop and direct, indirect upbringing and education, and the development potential of open space for new games. Therefore, one cannot ignore the importance of the game in the organization of educational work with children in both preschool and junior primary school.
At the very beginning of their education, which in some ways represents a transitional period, a part of learning activities should be organized through the game, in order to overcome resistance to school. The resistance is not aimed at teaching the contents of, but the ways and forms of their presentation.
Given the age characteristics of the six year old, (curiosity, the need for independence, expressed emotionality), and children's need to be constantly on the move, active, and research to investigate, decide and control of the situation at work will emphasize the importance of using games as teaching methods in the period of adaptation to school work and learning. Been particularly important that the child fully satisfy their need for play and cannot be allowed to stop it artificially, as this may lead to delays in the development and learning of control of attention, memory functioning and formation of symbolic operations.[1, 17, 4, 14] Teacher at the school especially at the beginning, you need to enter the spirit of the game and understands the habits that children bring from the nursery, and that is not always the best fit in the school code of conduct. If there is no play in the educational process, the enrollment of the child is widening the gap between preschool and school childhood and strong discontinuity in the education system.
Learning through play at primary school children helps overcome the discontinuity between pre-school and school education. Curriculum content can be covered through carefully selected and prepared play activities with the support, encouragement and guidance of adults and a good knowledge of age and physical and psychological characteristics of each child. Properly measured and designed children's activities adequately prepared conditions, the support and encouragement of adults, contribute to the fact that children freely, spontaneously and creatively express themselves. Adults intervene in play only when the children want to play, or when the process requires. Support a child's intellectual excitement of the game, better concentration, focus on the goal and develop the ability to independently solve problems.[16]
The world professionals after many years still argue about the role and value of the game and its impact on teaching and learning. The choices for and against games in an educational context, producing arguments that position high in educational policy, research and practice. The game continued to receive serious treatment, and the confirmation that the modern research that provide a new theoretical framework and guidelines for the practice. The game is still in the sphere of interest of scholars and practitioners primarily for its ideal blend of theory and practice, as well as ensuring the quality of learning and teaching.
Bearing in mind that during the first cycle of education is a key transition from the concrete to the preoperative level of mental development of students, play activities should strive to leaving the sphere of practical activities and promoting those activities that are associated with the development of higher mental functions. Activities that require only routine engagement are slowly being replaced with play activities to stimulate engagement significant mental capacities of students. The famous psychologist Jean Piaget believed that play is a function of cognitive ability and cognitive activity as it has a great significance in the development of symbolic function "... to him by the same factors that determine the intellectual development and determine the progress of the game, it is a phenomenon that follows the development of intellectual function and reflects the main features of the individual stages of development of the intellect."[10]
Play activities allow children to be more motivated and more powerful in the learning process. Learning through the game more enjoyable modern child, but also a challenge every ambitious teacher. The changed attitude toward children and childhood necessitate the increased recognition of its development needs, interests and desires, and therefore the involvement of children in planning educational activities. They participate in the selection of topics and during their implementation. Karen. Williams in his article titled Involving Children in Curriculum Planning [23] indicates the effects of treating children as a source of planning educational facilities. According to her, most of the teachers would not want to create their own program in this way, but really worth at least a part of the program to be created in terms of the interests of children. When, in the process of joint planning of educational work with children (usually this refers to the preparation of the treatment of a topic), Williams puts the emphasis on the four questions posed to children: What do you want to know?; What all together we can find?; What materials are necessary?; What would you like to bring from home?. This concept, according to Williams, it gives great results. Children are increasingly more motivated and more engaged in the learning process, because it is based on their needs and interests.
Given that the game is always associated with children's internal needs, interests and preferences, in addition to good educational outcomes, improves satisfaction among students, and at the same time it facilitates, and rewards to motivate learning. Satisfaction is the source of happiness and motivation and all that is carried out spontaneously without the presence of any kind of coercion. Tasks, policies and objectives set out in the play activities students naturally accept them as their own for the sake of them for the rest serve to achieve the desired goal.
Since the game is much more flexible and better fits the needs and interests of children, it takes precedence over the school system work. It is a more convenient and attractive way of learning for preschool children, but it can be successfully used in the teaching activities of the lower classes of primary school. This statement is to point out the need for the implementation of games and playing activities in the early school period. By its methodological concept of playful activity should offer students an adequate transition from the acquisition of game-playing experience to the systematic acquisition of knowledge.
A methodical concept play activity is important because it needs to be a structure methodological realization of play activities. What is very important is the way that will be understood and interpreted structure methodical c play activities. It is not a done that once forever date and will be applied to many generations of students and will be universal for all program areas and aspects of the development.


3. Implementation of play activities in the early school period


 In educational theory the authors have long emphasized the organization of learning activities through the game.[8, 13, 19] It involves a systematic evaluation of the implementation of games in the classroom.
Bearing in mind that playing and learning are complementary processes, or to one side of learning contribute to changes in behavior and enrichment experiences, and enriching play on the other side the child to new experiences which are later applied perfecting their acts, the question of the need for and importance of play activities at the beginning of education, as well as different;, modern and creative approach to the realization of the goals and tasks of different program areas. Application of games and play activities in the early school period tends to overcome the organization chart, the formalism and rigidity that characterize the traditional approach to teaching.
Considering the play activities as a specific methodical organization can be seen to its organization and implementation can successfully achieve the goals and objectives of intellectual, moral, aesthetic and physical education, and at the same time to create the basis for the primary socialization and proper socio-emotional development of children.
Realization of content teaching in Serbian language, mathematics, nature and society, art, music and physical education using play activities as a methodological concept in the first cycle of education aims to provide students an active position, teaching innovation, modernization of methodical access and release creative energy themselves teachers .
The methodological concept offers a completely different treatment of the role of teachers, the respect of his professional competence, professional capabilities, creativity and inventiveness. The teacher needs to create conditions in which "... provide a variety of playful activities and possibilities children to feel inspired and privileged at their own game".[24] Playful activity itself does not offer a finished product that is to be achieved in the classroom. Her methodical meaning is that the teacher has the freedom of its overall design, the choice of content, didactic and methodical design, to the realization that should lead to a specific goal.
Susan Isaac (1885-1948) implemented numerous system of observation children aged two to nine years. The game is explained as "central to the curriculum that children able to solve problems and develop skills in reading and writing and arithmetic."[24] Particularly stresses the value of spontaneous, imaginative and manipulative games. The role of the teacher according to her lies in the observation and identification of children's needs and interests.
A teacher’s interest for creative teaching stems from his didactic and methodological quality abilities, needs, interests and abilities of students and teaching facilities.
In recent literature there is indeed a wide range of didactic and methodical and offer solutions on the implementation of the game and playing activities, but a good teacher input is offered to choose from, combine, create, and that the maximum in their professional practice.
Play activities as a methodological concept in the first cycle education seeks to bring issues concerning the Serbian language, mathematics, science, music, arts and physical education to all students.
Serbian language curriculum in the first cycle of education bears the brunt primarily for initial literacy needs of children. It should therefore be to offer a methodical approach which will allow "..... with the child quietly but systematically to conduct those activities that will enable him to painlessly and naturally adopt the principle of the alphabet, converting voice that listens with a letter that looks and vice versa. This means that the activities of the child (in the form of storytelling, conversation, shared reading of picture books and stories, the preclusion of children around the notation and properties of written text, the importance of letters and letter correspondence and votes as well as the meaning of the story) during childhood, but before we go to school will develop at his readiness for rapid adoption of the coding and decoding as well as for fast almost indiscernible transition from illiteracy to literacy...".[3] Motor exercises, voice analysis of words, developing a sense of basic speech units are only part of the content of the curriculum, which can be realized in the first year, the different variants of mobile or didactic games.[13]
The content of methodological articulation of Serbian language special attention should be given to the establishment and initial literacy performance about letters. Many studies show that students want to know the source, origin and significance of all the things they learn. Hence the desire to get to the essence, the origin and significance of letters. Such a possibility provides a model of learning to read and write through the use of picture-word as an inductive method.[9] This model aims to provide such a methodical exploring and learning the alphabet with each letter of the need to offer a corresponding picture. Each image provides opportunities for students together with teachers to create a story that will give the required letter to the significance and inductive methods, students will create a concept and an idea of ​​the specific letter.
Mathematics as a subject, despite its exactness can practically be applied through methodical concept of playful activities with clearly indicated its purpose. Play activities can be implemented in different types of the class, even in the class of renewal, because "... in the direction of learning skills - update can be standardized and classified according workbooks much more than the teacher.” A good teacher in teaching (e.g. in the preparation of tests), can reduce the boredom of students using the technique of concentration and motivation".[20]
Contemporary approaches to the implementation of mathematics students tend to learn to use a method of writing for addition and subtraction of numbers".[7] This approach, is the most expended calculator use in teaching since in the earliest age.
The subject world around us is very near in a good connection between the immediate environment, daily life, nature, and schools. In the process of acquiring knowledge, skills and abilities with students often, the procedures of observation and description of all what is seen and experienced. In addition to observing learning about the environment is particularly important way to come into contact with the environment and to act on it. Be sure that all interaction is unavoidable active position students who primarily can be enabled through play activities. In this sense it is said: "The game is the role of creative, practical, and experimental techniques educational." Studies show that plays the role as a form of physical modeling helps students visualize understand abstract scientific concepts. Understanding comes not only through the participation of high level of participation, but also through exposure to ideas, discussions, collaboration with other students".[21]
Early school age have caused physical changes to weight and height of children, students and they need more than an activity in addition to cognitive and affective development will provide adequate physical development. "It serves as an engine of cognitive and affective development of young children, and is also important for the development of small and large motor skills."[6]


4. Conclusion


Methodical concepts of playful activities found in the core of the educational process are significant drivers of active place for students. The value of methodical concept of play activities consists in the fact that on the one hand, they serve as a means for achieving educational outcomes and on the other side as the form through which students advancing its knowledge, skills and abilities. Through this approach playful activity is increasingly becoming a life practice.
Properly designed and organized with proper role of the teacher in it, the game achieves its educational function. In addition, learning through play in the elementary grades is possible for children to quickly and easily overcome fitness problems in the transition from pre-school to the school system of education, and to at least partially alleviate the existing problem of discontinuity. Teachers try to incorporate the game to a greater extent in teaching first grade and development of didactic and methodological guidelines, concretize the role of the teacher in the planning and organization of the game and formulate ways of evaluating its effects. In this way, the gap between traditional and modern teaching can be overcome through concept play activities that are provided on one side of intellectual development, social skills, emotional stability and physical maturity, and on the other side by providing the freedom of students to their active position that is not the end of the anarchic , already has a structure that is necessary in a systematic process of acquiring knowledge and skills, and that is education.




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