Exploring the feasibility of outdoor indigenous games and songs to enhance play-based pedagogy in early childhood education
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Keywords:Indigenous games, Outdoor play, Songs, Early childhood education, Play-based learning
Indigenous play activities are crucial to cross-cultural knowledge and practice and are gaining ground as a pedagogical approach in early childhood education settings. The study aimed at systematically documenting culturally and developmentally appropriate outdoor indigenous games that could serve as resource materials for play-based learning in ECE centres. Participants comprising teachers, parents, grandparents, and adolescent girls and boys were drawn from Lufwanyama district of Zambia. Data was generated through Participatory Action Research to allow inter-cultural dialogue. Data was analysed using thematic categorisation. Results showed that documentation of indigenous games can serve as a resource capital for enhancing play-based learning practice in an early childhood education setting. The study further revealed that integrating indigenous games can strengthen home-school linkages through active community engagement. The study recommends that teachers can effectively implement play-based learning when the reservoir of developmentally appropriate indigenous games is easily accessible to them. We further argue for rethinking early childhood education pedagogical practice so that learning and development are seen as being influenced more by contextually responsive play and exploration, than by direct instruction and teaching.
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