Play-based pedagogy and creativity for early grade and preschool learners
Keywords:play-based pedagogy, creative skills, preschool, early grades, professional development programme, participatory action research
Researchers, educators and policymakers promote play-based pedagogy because of its appropriateness in developing children's potential. Play is considered a lens through which children view their natural world and propose creative ways of dealing with their daily challenges. However, play as a teaching pedagogy remains inadequate due to insufficient understanding and practical use of various play-based pedagogies. Despite the importance placed on play-based pedagogy, children struggle to transform their creative abilities into functional real-world outcomes. The researcher, therefore, aims to investigate "play-based pedagogy and creativity for early-grade and preschool learners". Specifically, The research intended to find out; (a) how play-based pedagogy can be used to enhance the creativity of preschool and early-grade learners. (b) how a professional development programme assists preschool and early-grade teachers in enhancing learners' creativity. The study was conducted in Owerri Education Zone, Imo State, Nigeria. The study adopted a qualitative approach with a Participatory Action Research (PAR) design. The research participants were nine and purposively sampled from teachers of young learners aged five to eight years. The tool used for data collection was a Semi-structured interview and observational schedule. Findings from the study indicate that teachers have a poor understanding of diverse twenty-first-century-century play-based pedagogy used to enhance children's creativity. Furthermore, the teachers' professional development programme positively impacted learners' creativity. In conclusion, the study recommends teachers' professional development training on twenty-first-century play-based pedagogies to enhance learners' creative skills.