Phenomenological study of practitioners’ lived mathematical play practices in an early childhood care and education setting

dc.contributor.advisorOkeke, C. I. O.en_ZA
dc.contributor.advisorUgwuanyi, C. S.en_ZA
dc.contributor.authorBaloyi-Mothibeli, Seipati Lydiaen_ZA
dc.descriptionThesis (Ph.D.(Early Childhood Development))--University of the Free State, 2022en_ZA
dc.description.abstractGlobally, research indicates growing interest in mathematics-related play in early childhood settings; this is also the case in the informal settlements of Mangaung in the Motheo District. This interest has its roots in the poor performance of learners in mathematics when they reach formal education, particularly in the foundation phase. The aim of this study was to carry out a phenomenological investigation of practitioners’ lived mathematics play practices in early childhood care and education settings. The study is located in Vygotsky’s social constructivist theory, which maintains that children acquire knowledge best if there is scaffolding and mediation by more knowledgeable others. Vygotsky defined the more knowledgeable other as someone who has a better understanding or higher ability levels than the child on a particular task, process, or concept. Therefore, language and environment play a major role in the child’s process of new knowledge creation. Vygotsky believed that knowledge is first acquired interpersonally, as the child learns from others, then internalises knowledge; the process takes place in the zone of proximal development (ZPD). Vygotsky explains ZPD as the distance between what children can do by themselves, and what they can achieve with competent assistance by more knowledgeable others. Additionally, the study employed an interpretive qualitative research paradigm and a phenomenology design. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews, observations and journal entries by the researcher. A purposeful sample of 10 practitioners who were teaching in five early childhood care and education setting took part in the study. Data generated were analysed through the lens of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory and a thematic approach, through which subthemes emerged. The finding of this study is that practitioners’ lived mathematics play practices in ECCE settings were compromised, as they are not adequately qualified in this context. It is concluded that, through proper teacher development programmes and obtaining adequate qualifications, practitioners’ lived mathematics play-based learning can be enhanced. Therefore, it is recommended that local higher education institutions design and offer a qualification that is adequate for ECCE practitioners, and which incorporates curriculum content that is supposed to be taught to children in this environment to enhance mathematics play-based learning.en_ZA
dc.publisherUniversity of the Free Stateen_ZA
dc.rights.holderUniversity of the Free Stateen_ZA
dc.subjectEarly childhood care and educationen_ZA
dc.subjectearly childhood developmenten_ZA
dc.subjectmathematical playen_ZA
dc.titlePhenomenological study of practitioners’ lived mathematical play practices in an early childhood care and education settingen_ZA
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