Do you know how to play? A "Beginners Guide" to the Vocabularies of Dramatic Play

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Dunn, Julie
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Rozas Gomez, Claudia
O'Connor, Peter
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2017
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Abstract

My childhood was characterised by the presence of play. It was a childhood to be treasured. Across weekends, holidays, and even as I wandered to and from school, unescorted by an adult, I played. This play was almost always imaginative, mostly collaborative and always free. It was also highly dramatic, for as we played, my sister, friends and I, we created roles, established fictional contexts and spontaneously developed plots. Space and place were critical too, with materials drawn from all over the house and garden being brought into the action and used to help us create and sustain the shared illusion that our co-created, dramatic worlds were real (Dunn 2002).
Projected play (Slade 1995) was important too, allowing us to develop complex play episodes involving “Barbie”, “Ken” and “Cindy” dolls who drove around in shoe boxes (or indeed the shoes themselves) to attend lavish parties or go on dates. Long before the commercialisation of play had given rise to bright pink, plastic Barbie caravans, horse trailers and indeed whole apartments, my friends and I were using our imaginations to create the props we needed to enrich and extend our dramatic worlds.

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Playing with Possibilities
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© The Author(s) 2017. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. It is reproduced here in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the publisher’s website for further information.
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Curriculum and pedagogy
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Dunn, J, Do you know how to play? A "Beginners Guide" to the Vocabularies of Dramatic Play, Playing with Possibilities, 2017, pp. 34-49
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