Using a cross-cultural conception of play to explore the play perspectives of children and parents of Somali heritage and primary school practitioners
Bishop, Elizabeth May
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
This two phase study explored perspectives of play according to children and parents of Somali heritage and primary school practitioners, in a city in South West England. In an addition to the considerable research base concerning play, this study investigated the frequently overlooked cultural dimension of play and how this affects the education of Somali heritage children in England. The broader contentious concern of play’s role in Early Years and Primary education was also explored. A mixed methods pragmatic approach was employed in this study. In Phase One, a photograph sorting activity based on the Activity Apperception Story Procedure by Howard (2002), was used to enable the participation of young children and participants for whom English is not their first language. Established via this activity were definitions of play and work according to children and parents of Somali heritage and primary school practitioners. Exploratory Data Analysis was applied to examine this data. In Phase Two, a focus group design was used, with discussions drawing on cross-cultural conceptions of play (Gaskins, Haight & Lancy, 2007; Göncü, Tuermer, Jain & Johnson, 1999). This enabled the exploration of how parents of Somali heritage and primary school practitioners perceive play’s relationship to children’s development and learning, with consideration for their own experiences of childhood. Focus group data was analysed using thematic analysis, supported by the Cultural Historical Activity Theory framework. The findings of this study highlight shared and individual definitions of play, competing benefits of play and the cross-cultural importance of play being intrinsically motivated. Implications for practice centre on the need to recognise play as part of unique cultural milieus at a practitioner, school, educational psychology service and policy level.
Doctor of Educational, Child and Community Psychology