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An Assessment of the Current Practices of Play Based Learning in North Gondar Preschool Education

Author: 
Daniel Gebreslassie Mekonnen
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

The study basically aimed at assessing the current practices of play based learning in the Early Childhood Care and Education program of North Gondar, Ethiopia. This issue is important because of the recent movement for a more academic focus in preschool education. Therefore, this study first examined the teachers perceived emotional and social developmental value of play based learning in the preschool education. Second it examined and discussed the role of teachers in implementing play based learning. This is because understanding the significance of play based learning could make teachers to be less worried while implementing it and enable them to answer questions regarding the value of play for social and emotional development of preschool children. Third, it assessed the physical learning environment including the indoor and outdoor play materials and equipment of the preschools. Besides this study has assessed the major challenges and opportunities of both the private and government owned KGs. Those things that were investigated by the study, may contribute their lions’ share in enhancing the effective implementation of play based learning in preschool education. As a means, mixed research method was employed to analyze both the collected qualitative and quantitative data. Comparative study was used to compare the government and private kindergartens (KGs). It involved, 32 preschool teachers drawn from 4 pre-schools (24 % of the study population) and 4 preschool coordinators, selected using simple random sampling and purposive sampling techniques respectively. Data were collected by questionnaire from preschool teachers, interview guide from the preschool coordinators and observation check list of the preschool physical learning environment. Thematic data analysis techniques were used to analyze the gathered qualitative data; whereas the quantitative data were analysed by using statistical techniques of t-test .The study found out that most teachers do not fulfill some of the roles specified to them in implementing play based learning in the preschool education. Moreover, the result of the one sample t-test analysis displays that there was no appropriate integration of play based learning both in the private and government owned KGs. The study also revealed that there was better indoor outdoor materials and equipment in the private KGs than the government KGs. However, as the independent sample t-test result indicated, there is no statistically significant difference among the private and government owned KGs in implementing play based learning. Finally, pertinent recommendations were drawn from the findings and the conclusions of the study.

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