The importance of play in early childhood development: implications on design and technology education in Zimbabwe
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In the study leading to this paper, the task was to determine the possibility of the Department of Technical Education at the University of Zimbabwe in-servicing Early Childhood Development (ECD) teachers in Design and Technology (D&T) through short and long-term courses. Such courses would specifically relate to the application of D&T as an approach to the teaching and learning of identified psycho-motor related technical skills. 'Play' was identified as an important vehicle to promote such a process at ECD level; hence the need to determine its implications on D&T Education. Investigations were mainly based on a document analysis of the handbook 'Curriculum for the Child - Early Childhood Education and Care Programme—Zimbabwe' (1993; revised, 1999), where special attention was specifically focused on the 'Art and Craft' section. More data on the subject of 'play' were gathered from additional publications from the internet. Results and findings clearly showed that the various forms of play manifesting in early childhood, the importance of play and how abilities (technical skills) promoted through play could be placed in line with the principles underpinning D&T education. The recommendations made in this study proffer a critical need for further research with the intention of taking advantage of play as a foundation for skills development at various levels in the education system.