19 January 2015




Play is an innate, creative, joyful, non-serious, interesting and recreative activity. It is the activity in which natural urges of the child find spontaneous expression. It is regarded as the language of the child. What he cannot express through language, he expresses that through his behaviour and that behaviour is play.
According to Froebel, “Education is a development from which man’s life broadens until it has related itself to nature, until it enters sympathetically into all activities of society, until it participates in the achievements of the race and aspirations of humanity. It is a process of unfolding child`s innate powers and to awaken his spiritual nature which may enable him to realize his inner unity, achievements of race and aspirations of humanity. He clearly emphasized on natural release of the child’s physical and mental powers through which he will develop a balanced personality. As he said, “play is the highest phase of child development and the source of all that is good.”

All the educationists made efforts in order to bring play into the field of education. The Play-way was first used as a method of teaching by Cadwell Cook. This was first used for teaching the different play`s of Shakespeare by Cook. He noticed that they took more interest in those plays where they themselves were involved in the activity. He said, “good work is more often the result of spontaneous effort and free interest than of compulsion and forced application. Effectiveness of learning lies not in reading and listening, but in action, performance and experience”. He further said, “the core of my faith is that only work worth doing in play; by play I mean doing anything with one’s heart in it. Only that child learns best who learns with interest and with a purpose and sees significance in what he does.”


a. Ross: “Play is joyful, spontaneous and creative activity in which man finds fullest self-expression.”
b. Thomson: “Play is impulse to carry out certain instinctive actions.”
c. Crow and Crow: “Play is the activity in which a person engages himself when he is free to do what he wants to do.”
d. Froebel: “Play is the highest phase of child development and the source of all that is good.”

Principles of play-way methods:

The following are the underlying principles of play-way method:

a. Learning by Doing: 

Training of five senses makes all round development in an individual. The principle of learning by doing involves maximum usage of these senses. Any knowledge which a child gains through his head and hands becomes interesting and purposeful for him. The children experiment and discover themselves the required knowledge by means of play-way method.

b. Principle of individual differences: 

The play-way method takes into account the individual differences of the learners. Every individual works according to his differences in different spheres like interests, attitudes, sentiments, capabilities, intelligence level etc. It makes the learning easy and understandable by involving every learner according to his differences.

c. Sympathetic Attitude: 

Play-way method develops a congenial environment in teaching-learning process. It does not create artificial environment or any compulsion on the learners. Everyone is free to do and act according to his interests. Whenever children need suggestions, they accept them without any hesitation.


When we review all the progressive methods of teaching, we find that they contain the principles of play. All the progressive methods viz. Kindergarten, didactic method, project method, Dalton plan involves the procedure which is of play-way in nature. For example the Dalton plan follows the procedure like assignments or contracts, subject teacher, subject rooms, records, conferences, time budgeting and daily time schedule; involves the play-way principles in each step. Every activity is done according to the capabilities, needs and interests of the learners. They are at liberty to move from one room to another according to their wishes. So, all the progressive methods follow the play-way procedure in their completion.

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Practical applications of play-way method in progressive methods of teaching:

1. Kindergarten Method: 

Kindergarten means ‘garden of children’. In this method, children are provided with seven gifts
called apparatus in order to develop the different ideas like shape, colour, number, weight etc. Children learn while playing and singing in a happy atmosphere of kindergarten. It is based upon the play urge of the children. Every activity is designed according to their interests.

2. Didactic Method: 

This method was developed by Maria Montessori. It provides sense training to the individuals, because senses are the gateways of knowledge. In it, the children enjoy, play and learn.

3. Project Method: 

As a method of teaching, it was used by J.A. Stevenson. In it the children choose their projects according to their interests, urges and capabilities and complete their projects only when they follow certain psychological principles of learning like law of readiness, law of effect etc. they learn in real life situations which becomes significant for them.
4. Dalton Plan: This method was devised by Miss Helen in Dalton USA. In it, complete freedom is given to children to complete their school work according to their interests and capacity.

5. Heuristic Method: 

This method was devised by Prof. Armstrong. In it, the children discover things
themselves. He experiments and finds out different principles or rules for himself. The child struggles to find out conclusions for an investigation which he chooses voluntarily and happily.

Play-way in teaching different subjects:-

a. Languages: Play-way method helps the children to acquire the free use of language. Debates, discussions, tutorials, class-meetings, school assembalies provides sufficient opportunities for expressing one’s ideas thus help in acquiring control over the use of languages in different situations. Even pronunciation can be well taught in play-way spirit. The little children recite nursery rhymes in a singing manner even if they do not understand its meaning. So play-way method is very effective and significant at elementary level in order to make the use of language in different situations.

b. Mathematics: Different mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division can be taught through play-way method. Counting and simple calculations can be taught by organizing projects like running a shop, managing a post-office, opening a co-operative store etc.

c. Social studies: It can be taught through dramatics, stamp collecting, drawing of maps, graphs, charts, pictures, globe-making, models, historical and cultural excursions and tours.

d. Science: Science can be best taught through play-way method. Different experiments, collection of
specimens, manufactured articles, minerals, preparation of charts, models and graphs, photography, soapmaking, chalk making, preparation of squashes, jams etc. can be best taught through play-way spirit. Children love to make things for themselves so they should be given ample opportunities for activity and play.

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