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This is the second presentation in the “Imagination and Creativity in Vygotsky’s Works” seminar series.This seminar continues our discussion on how pretend play contributes to imagination and international relations. Many different play curricula contribute to our understanding of how children learn story-telling narratives, using one object as if it were another, and role play. In this session we focus on Vivian Paley’s approach and how it relates to Vygotsky’s theory. There are two readings for this session:
Abstract provided by Gillian Mcnamee: Vivian Paley’s Mollie is Three: Growing Up in School is a most remarkable memoir of a master teacher chronicling the experiences of three- and four-year-old children coming to school for the first time. The book is saturated with episodes of children figuring out how to converse and play with one another. This text provides ample data to discuss and debate the workings of imagination in the early years of a child’s life, and how imagination can be shaped and transformed by the group. Much of what becomes possible is shaped by the vision of the teacher. And she says about pretend play and imagination, “The issue seems to be control. What does it look like, who has it, and how far can one’s imagination carry it?” (p. 119). I recommend watching Christopher closely, a child’s whose imagination is the most confusing and difficult for his teacher to understand. What do the other children think about Christopher? How does Mollie make sense of him so readily? In addition, there are scenes where the children come to understand the word “curious,” “selfish,” and Valentine’s Day through pretend play. The Epilogue to the book contains brilliant material on how Mollie at age 4 inducts new 3-year-olds into the world of imaginary pretend play. How does that learning process work?
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