A Childs Play Life: An Ethnographic Study (Early Childhood by Diana Kelly-Byrne

By Diana Kelly-Byrne

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Extra resources for A Childs Play Life: An Ethnographic Study (Early Childhood Education, No 20)

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Page 5 The dominance of philosophy, logic, and science over art, literature, and play as fundamental modes of knowing affected not only the subject matter and nature of scholarly pursuit but also the methods and standards for research and discovery. Consequently, the natural or physical science model of research and its underlying epistemology have prevailed in psychology, under whose aegis most work in the area of children's play has been done. In this model universality, precision, and certainty are of paramount importance, as is belief in the ideal of objective knowledge, which points to a single reality.

As such, they comprise the introductory part of the story of the play relationship between Helen and me. Chapter 1 briefly considers the play literature so that the reader may get a sense of how the present study takes its place in relation to other work in the area of children's play. Chapter 2 focuses on how and why the research was planned and executed the way it was and on additional theoretical influences on my understanding of the play relationship. Chapter 3 concludes this part with portraits of the key characters in this study: the child Helen, her parents, and the researcher.

Most professors are reluctant to sign on to supervise a study that is already underway; and, even more so, are certainly not at ease with a one-subject dissertation. For my own part, and after some 30 years in play research, I was impressed by her determination to carry this project through and excited at what we might find out if someone "played" with a child, instead of just studying children playing as had been the usual procedure in therapy and research for the past 100 years. It was an amazing idea even if a remarkably simple one.

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