PARKER-REES, 1997. Learning from play: design and technology, imagination and playful thinking. IDATER 1997 Conference, Loughborough: Loughborough University
This paper considers what children can learn from play and explores what can be learned from a comparison between play and D&T teaching. Three fundamental functions which are common to children's play and D&T are discussed: 'mastery orientation' and the development of autonomy; 'decentration' and the development of flexible thinking and, finally, mediation and the development of forms of representation. The High/Scope approach is described as an example of an early years curriculum which actively supports these functions of play and the relevance of this approach to the teaching of D&T is considered. It is argued that D&T teaching, like play, can help to promote creative, critical and playful thinking by helping children to internalise and develop their imagination. It is also argued that the development of imagination is dependent on learning to use tools of thought and that these tools evolve as they are used in playful, innovative ways.