Volume 3, Number 3
Ruth Codier Resch is a psychoanalyst who has practiced child and adult psychotherapy for thirty-five years. She has held staff and supervisory positions in psychiatry and clinical psychology at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, City College of New York, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, and what is now the Weill Cornell Medical College. Currently she is an allied professional in neurorehabilitation at the Providence Medford Medical Center in Oregon where she works mainly with patients with catastrophic illnesses such as stroke, aphasia, and brain injury. She has published research and clinical studies in the Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, Infant Mental Health Journal, Psychoanalytic Psychology, and the New England Journal of Medicine, among others. Also a painter and printmaker, Resch trained in drawing and painting at Parsons The New School for Design and recently has begun to integrate digital images into her artwork. In this interview, Resch explores the defining events of her personal and professional life—a stroke that left her without the ability to speak—and how her play with the sensory and the nonverbal in various forms of art and dance allowed her to rediscover and then transcend the spoken word.
This article investigates the relationship between children in an after-school program (ASP) and the places where they play. It focuses on the kind of bodily play the children themselves choose and control. The author applies a life-world approach to this study, and his theoretical perspective is based on phenomenological philosophy. The qualitative research included interviews of children in a Norwegian ASP and the close observation of these children engaged in free play at two distinctive locations on the grounds of one ASP facility. The findings show that children’s understanding of place closely associates with their own bodily play. Bodily play appears meaningfully directed toward places and offers children the immediate opportunity to fulfill the intentionality of their activities. Such play serves an important role in constituting and adjusting the background for later actions, and the author concludes that this kind of bodily play should be encouraged in ASP. He concludes further that ASP itself should be emphasized as a complementary but contrasting niche in a school’s physical-education scheme, an emphasis that requires sound pedagogical judgments by professional staff.
Through an integrated investigation of emotion, play, and creativity, this interdisciplinary study analyzes the affective nature of playfulness, explores it as feeling or attitude in an adult context, and maps its relationship to the creative process. Combining phenomenological and empirical perspectives, the author builds on ideas and findings from research in neuroscience, emotion studies, psychology, anthropology, systems and evolution theory, and aesthetics and the arts. He considers the embodied mind environmentally interactive; biologically, experientially, and culturally influenced; and intrinsically dynamic and creative. Finally, he defines a model of playfulness consisting of eight qualities and makes connections between these and ideational phases of creativity.
This article reviews how a receptive, bilingual four-year-old increased her Spanish productive-language skills over five weeks as she engaged in Spanish-language play sessions with bilingual peers. The data show her growing participation in group verbal interactions along with her growing production of her weaker language. In addition, a microanalysis of play sessions illustrates the techniques employed by the four-year-old’s playmates to scaffold the linguistic production of the child’s weaker language in sociodramatic play. The author concludes that the study has implications for parents who wish to provide their children with opportunities to develop or maintain more than one language.
This article describes how adult attitudes toward play on the Hawaiian island of Lāna’i reflect the connection between play and culture. It is based on a study of ninety-two caregivers (parents, grandparents, and other adult custodians), primarily representing individuals of Filipino, part Hawaiian, and Japanese heritages. These respondents completed a survey about the value of play for their children, the types of play they encouraged or discouraged, and the extent and nature of their own involvement in their children’s play. The caregivers acknowledged the importance of play for their children and its developmental benefits, particularly those connected to culture. In keeping with the more collectivist ideology of Pacific Rim cultures, the caregivers encouraged types of play that fostered social skills such as cooperation, sharing, and group play. They strongly discouraged types of play that might harm or injure children. And they acknowledged the need for caretakers to set aside time to participate in their children’s play.
Playing to Learn: The Role of Play in the Early Years by Sandra Smidt, presents theory, research, and application about play with detailed, cross-cultural case studies. Smidt writes well and supplies many examples that will resonate with both students and practitioners. The author includes more theory than offered in many cursory textbooks of child development and early-childhood education, which are typically limited to the “big” theories minus details concerning sociocultural context in which these theories were created. While Playing to Learn presents the ideas of classic theorists, Smidt identifies important, yet not widely taught, theoretical concepts that help us better understand play.
Scott Nicholson, a librarian by training and assistant professor by trade, knows what he is talking about when it comes to libraries. In this book, he challenges librarians to ask themselves how gaming fits into their libraries and follows up with a practical guide for implementation.
Despite the impression Tom Chatfield’s title might give, Fun, Inc. is not first and foremost a business book. Instead, it is a wide and shallow look at the full spectrum of things in contemporary society that involve play. It touches on play in general and the history and business of video games, both stand alone and networked, as well as their impact on education, psychology, and more. Chatfield interviews a wide variety of experts in the field, some of whom have become well known, some less so.
The opening pages of Jesse Schell’s The Art of Game Design broadcast its purpose loudly, even before his prose begins. A detailed and well-organized table of contents is no unusual thing, but the Table of Lenses that follows it is. Schell’s textbook on game design is organized along two vectors: first, the components of the game design process more generally, and second, Schell’s own advice in the form of “lenses”—concepts through which design decisions can be approached. For example, #30 The Lens of Fairness addresses the balancing of player skill levels, while the melding of aesthetics, mechanics, story, and technology compose #7 The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad. The components of design are also organized into a mind map that unfolds throughout the book, revealing the order and relationship of the process—from designer to experience, through game, and player. While comprehensive and unique, this structure has its downside. The book’s length and detail prevent it from being a casual read, and its meandering organization makes it difficult to separate into the kind of sections or topics one might find on a college syllabus.
In this, the tenth volume of the Play & Culture Studies series from TASP (The Association for the Study of Play), editor Eva Nwokah argues that the contributions of this volume all proclaim that play involves both engagement with another and communication through verbal or nonverbal means. This theme is very broad and covers almost any theoretical paper or research study on play. Most of the chapters in this volume are quite different from one another, are not well integrated, and do not build on one another. For example, there are no references to other chapters and seldom to the work of the other authors in any of the chapters. Some of the chapters are well written, innovative, and insightful, but the volume’s lack of coherence is a serious drawback.
A volume culminating a distinguished career is a rare event. Enter Melvin Konner, whose The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, and Mind represents a synthesis of his four decades studying childhood. Konner attempts to provide a comprehensive picture of childhood from phylogenetic origins through the development of the child as a cultural being. The book both benefits and suffers from Konner’s efforts to expand the scope of the work beyond the traditional child-development perspective. He introduces and explains alternative and competing theoretical frameworks with mixed results. The overall effect leaves the reader wondering if this very large book consists of several smaller, more focused books trying to express themselves.
Rebecca A. Galeano is Assistant Instructor in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University, where she is also a coordinator of programs in Foreign Language Education and English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). She has served as a program reviewer for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She has also provided training for pre-service and in-service teachers in Mexico and Peru.
Robyn M. Holmes is Professor of Psychology at Monmouth University. Her research interests range from children’s artwork and the play of special needs children to children’s social behavior during video game play and college student-athletes’ conceptions of work and play. She is the author of Fieldwork with Children and How Young Children Perceive Race and has contributed chapters to Play = Learning: How Play Motivates and Enhances Children’s Cognitive and Social-Emotional Growth, Handbook of Computer Game Studies, and several volumes in the Play & Culture Studies series. Articles by Holmes have appeared in Early Child Development and Care, American Anthropologist, and the Journal of Sport Behavior.
Knut Løndal is Associate Professor of Education and International Studies at Olso University College. He studied bodily play among children at the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences and has worked with children in physical education, sports, and outdoor life at all levels from primary school through college. His publications include “The After-School Programme: An Arena for Interaction with Others through Body Movements in Play” in Phenomenology & Practice, “Barrier-Breaking Body Movements in the After-School Programme—Children’s Imitation through Play” in Nordic Studies in Education, and “Children’s Lived Experience and Their Sense of Coherence: Bodily Play in a Norwegian Afterschool Programme” a chapter in Child Care in Practice.
Pat Power is Senior Lecturer of Digital Media and Design at London Metropolitan University. A specialist in 3-D animation, he has worked widely in both industry and academia, including a position as Academic Manager for Multimedia and Animation at the Digital Academy. His interdisciplinary research encompasses animation, emotion, play, narrative, and the synthesis of science and the arts. In articles published in Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, he has examined expressive style in 3-D computer graphic narrative and the creative nature of character conception. Power also serves as an External Examiner at Oxford Brookes University.