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Cultural-Historical Psychology

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1816-5435

ISSN (online): 2224-8935


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published since 2005

Published quarterly

Free of fees
Open Access Journal

Affiliated ISCAR


The Children’s Playground in the Context of Cultural-Historical Psychology 2875


Smirnova E.O.
PhD in Psychology, Рrofessor of the Department of Preschool Pedagogics and Psychology of the Faculty of Psychology of Education, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia

Kotliar I.A.
PhD in Psychology, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Dubna State University Research Associate, Center of Applied Psychological and Pedagogical Studies, Moscow State University of Psychology & Education, Dubna, Russia

Sokolova M.V.
PhD in Psychology, Senior Scientist, Center of Psychology and Educational Expertise of Play and Toys, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia

Sheina E.G.
Senior Research Fellow, Toys And Play Research Centre, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia

The article describes the possible application of the principles of cultural-historical approach and activity theory to the inspection of toys and play environments. A children’s playground is treated as cultural means or artifact created by adults for starting a child’s activity. In terms of cultural and historical psychology, psycho-pedagogical analysis of a playground is based on the identification of the play value level and the compliance with the objectives peculiar to the age. Analysis and design are based on the understanding of the playground as a single space, where each element has the potential for any children’s development activity — games, communication, experimentation, etc. The following criteria of psychological and pedagogical inspection are identified and well-grounded: the principle of orientation to age-related peculiarities, the principle of high play value, the principle of transparency of objects, the principle of supporting acceptable risk, the principle of taking account of visitors’ activity levels, invitation to dialogue — the principle of dialogueness. The use of these principles in the course of designing playgrounds is illustrated by examples. These show that the conceptual apparatus of cultural and historical psychology may be used not only to explain the mechanisms and forms of mental development, but also for the analysis of particular conditions of a child’s mental development and design of play environments.

Keywords: psychological and pedagogical inspection, children’s playground, play environment, child, activity, game, play value, designing children’s playgrounds

Column: Childhood as Cultural-Historical Phenomenon


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