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Creative Pedagogy of Play—The Work of Gunilla Lindqvist



This article presents the work by the Swedish play scholar Gunilla Lindqvist, particularly what she calls creative pedagogy of play and playworlds. Creative pedagogy of play is an educational approach, which advocates the joint participation of children and adults in a collectively created and shared world of fiction—a playworld. Gunilla Lindqvist's pedagogy was designed to investigate how aesthetic activities can influence children's play as well as the nature of the connections between play and the aesthetic forms of drama and literature. Lindqvist based her theory on Vygotsky's theories of art, play, semiotics, imagination, and creativity. Her main idea is that children develop consciousness in dialogical interactions with adults and peers when encouraged and invited to play in a fictitious world where reality and imagination are dialectically related. This article is a homage to her work—it attempts to present her writings through an appreciative and expository fashion.
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Mind, Culture, and Activity
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Creative Pedagogy of Play—The Work of Gunilla Lindqvist
Monica E. Nilssona
a Stockholm University,
Online publication date: 23 December 2009
To cite this Article Nilsson, Monica E.(2010) 'Creative Pedagogy of Play—The Work of Gunilla Lindqvist', Mind, Culture,
and Activity, 17: 1, 14 — 22
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HMCA1074-90391532-7884Mind, Culture, and Activity, Vol. 17, No. 1, Nov 2009: pp. 0–0Mind, Culture, and Activity
Creative Pedagogy of Play—The Work
of Gunilla Lindqvist
Creative Pedagogy of PlayNilsson Monica E. Nilsson
Stockholm University
This article presents the work by the Swedish play scholar Gunilla Lindqvist, particularly what she
calls creative pedagogy of play and playworlds. Creative pedagogy of play is an educational
approach, which advocates the joint participation of children and adults in a collectively created and
shared world of fiction—a playworld. Gunilla Lindqvist’s pedagogy was designed to investigate how
aesthetic activities can influence children’s play as well as the nature of the connections between
play and the aesthetic forms of drama and literature. Lindqvist based her theory on Vygotsky’s theo-
ries of art, play, semiotics, imagination, and creativity. Her main idea is that children develop con-
sciousness in dialogical interactions with adults and peers when encouraged and invited to play in a
fictitious world where reality and imagination are dialectically related. This article is a homage to her
work—it attempts to present her writings through an appreciative and expository fashion.
The work by the Swedish play scholar Gunilla Lindqvist (1995) not only contributes to play
theories and early childhood pedagogy but also provides new perspectives on Vygotsky’s
cultural historical theories of human development. According to Lindqvist, Vygotsky succeeded
in developing a cultural historical theory because he initially studied humans in their relation-
ship to art and literature. According to Lindqvist, his cultural historical theory on cultural signs
is a direct continuation of the esthetic theory in the Psychology of Art (Vygotsky, 1925/1971). In
Creativity and Imagination in Childhood (Vygotsky, 2004), his ideas on art are tied together
with his general thinking. Vygotsky described how we create our conceptions, that is, how we
interpret and express our understanding of the world. Vygotsky described this process as a
dialectical relationship between reproduction and production (creativity), the latter, which he
called imagination—a significant concept in Lindqvist’s work.
Correspondence should be sent to Monica E. Nilsson Department of Didactic Science and Early Childhood
Education, Stockholm University, Stockholm, SE 106 91 Sweden. E-mail:
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Lindqvist takes her point of departure from Vygotsky’s theory of play, which, she points out,
is a theory of play as a creative activity. Lindqvist wants to reinterpret Vygotsky’s play theory,
which, according to her, should be based on his original thoughts in The Psychology of Art and
his inquires into creativity and imagination as the two basic types of activity. According to
Lindqvist, Vygotsky’s ideas give rise to a creative pedagogical approach. She calls her contribution
to such an approach “creative pedagogy of play” and “playworlds.” She investigates how
aesthetic activities can influence children’s play but also the nature of the connections between
play and the aesthetic forms of drama and literature. Creative pedagogy of play is a pedagogical
activity for daycare centers, preschool and school where children and adults participate in a
jointly created and shared world of fiction—a playworld.
My intention with this article is to give a window into Gunilla Lindqvist’s thoughts and ideas
on play, creative pedagogy of play and playworlds. For this purpose I have interviewed and
corresponded with Jan Lindqvist and two of Gunilla Lindqvist’s former students (Annica
Löfdahl and Inga-Lill Emilsson), both presently holding positions as faculty members at the
University of Karlstad.
Gunilla Lindqvist was a professor of education at the University of Karlstad in Sweden. At
the time of the millennium she became afflicted with severe dementia. She is now hospitalized
and unable to work.
Her background is in education, philosophy, and sociology. She held a position at the University
of Lund before moving to the University of Karlstad in 1975. Gunilla Lindqvist introduced several of
Vygotsky’s works in Sweden by having them translated into Swedish. For example, Imagination and
Creativity in Childhood, which was written in 1930, was translated and published in 1995 in Sweden.
Before that it had only been translated into Italian—in 1972. In 1999 Lindqvist organized translations
and publications of Vygotsky’s textbook Educational Psychology, first published in 1926.
Her theory was developed in close collaboration with her husband, Jan Lindqvist, who also
held a faculty position at the University of Karlstad. His field was drama and language/literature.
Jan Lindqvist describes how the theory of creative pedagogy of play is the fruit of their combin-
ing interests and experiences in developmental psychology, education, literature and drama.
Lindqvist (hereafter Lindqvist refers to Gunilla Lindqvist) became particularly interested in
Vygotsky’s work on art, imagination, and creativity, which was, according to Jan, a result of
their close collaboration and continuous conversations and discussions. As an anecdote, Jan
describes how he used to play with their son—applying his dramatic skills—and how his wife
became intrigued by this. A tradition was established where Jan used to read Vygotsky’s texts
out loud while Gunilla did her interpretations by jotting down comments and ideas in a note-
book. This, Jan explains, was the beginning of Lindqvist’s (1995) play theory.
Lindqvist refers to Vygotsky when stating that a child plays in order to satisfy needs and
motives. Thus, play is not about pleasure or surplus energy, which was a common belief at the
time of Vygotsky’s research and is still a commonly held view. Play, according to Vygotsky, is
a complex phenomenon that entails higher mental processes of cognition, volition, and emotion.
Moreover, Vygotsky perceived play as the most significant source of development of conscious-
ness about the world. Thus, “play is the source of development and creates the zone of proximal
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development” and in play “a child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily
behavior; in play it is though he were a head taller than himself” (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 102). Play,
according to Vygotsky, is a dynamic interplay between the child’s inner world (thoughts and
feelings) and the external world. Play creates a fictitious situation in which actions are carried
out. Thus children’s play is imaginative, that is, a creative process of interpretation in action
where, through fantasy, a real situation is given a new and different meaning. Meaning
dominates play and is the focal point in the dynamics between idea and action. Because play acts
out meaning, play reflects reality in a deep sense and can never be confused with a realistic
performance of an action. The child’s capacity to create an imaginary or fictitious situation in
play makes play a vehicle for developing abstract thinking.
Following Vygotsky, Lindqvist asserts that play, of course, also is about pleasure. Play is plea-
surable in at least two ways. One is that the child follows “the law of least resistance,” that is, the
child does what he or she wants to. But the child also follows the “greatest resistance law” by sub-
ordinating to rules so that the distance from spontaneous input seems to constitute the road to
optimal satisfaction in play. This is a paradox. The form of play (the rules) and the master of the
form of the play seem to give the child pleasure and excitement. In play the child is capable of
mastering her actions and remaining independent of the adults. Lindqvist makes a connection
between this and Vygotsky’s writings about art and aesthetical emotions and reactions. Lindqvist
states that, play, as well as art, is an aesthetical form capable of producing an aesthetic emotion.
This emotion is different from real emotion, which has the capacity to create new and complex
actions, as well as transcend everyday actions and influence the course of events.
Creativity includes processes of transformation, exaggeration, and shrinkage. These are also
features of play. Lindqvist writes that according to Vygotsky, dramatic and literary forms
dominate a child’s creative processes. Drama, according to Vygotsky, is related to play. Thus,
play has a close affinity to art. Both activities contain two coexisting levels: a “real” level—
where the action is carried out—and a “conditional” level, where the situation is deliberately
fictitious. The trick is to keep these two levels alive simultaneously: to be in the fiction and to
know it is fiction, to control the duplicity in the actions. This gives play a particular rich seman-
tic content.
Lindqvist is critical of how Vygotsky’s successors came to interpret his theory of play.
Vygotsky emphasized the dialectics expressed through the relation between the adult world and
the child’s world and also between the will and the emotion. She writes that Leontiev sees no
tension between the adult world and the child’s world and that play, for him, is about a child’s
inability to acquire adult roles. When a child can’t perform adult actions he instead creates a fic-
titious situation. This situation, Lindqvist writes, is, for Leontiev, the most significant sign of
play. Thus, play is the sign of the child’s inferiority, and hence play is in fact an infantile activity
because, as Lindqvist states, from this perspective, the child will gradually grow into the adult
world and play is directed toward the future. Moreover, she claims that the implication is a stress
on reproduction (of adult roles) at the expense of creativity. Therefore, she attempts to reinter-
pret Vygotsky’s play theory, based on his original thoughts in The Psychology of Art, and his
inquires into creativity and imagination. According to Lindqvist, Vygotsky’s ideas give rise to a
creative pedagogical approach instead of an instrumental one. This is because Vygotsky shows
how children interpret and perform their experiences by creating new meaning and how emo-
tions characterize their interpretations, that is, how emotion and thought unite in the process of
knowledge construction.
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Based on Vygotsky’s theories, Lindqvist argues for a cultural approach to play—in contrast
to the psychoanalytical or cognitive. The psychoanalytical and the cognitive approaches disre-
gard the significant role of the adult in influencing play. The child either confirms his or her
knowledge through play or processes inner conflicts. In both cases it is assumed that children
should be left alone in their play, perhaps offered passive support by providing play material,
and so on. Instead, Lindqvist argues that in order to describe the relationship between play and
culture, there is a need for a comprehensive cultural theory of play. Thus, for Lindqvist it is
important to search for a view on culture, which makes it possible to understand and explain the
dynamic connection between play and culture. As a consequence, Lindqvist opposes a clear-cut
distinction between the concept of culture in an anthropological sense and culture as fine art.
These two conceptualizations can and should be combined and thus transcended in order to
understand the connections between play and art forms such as dance, music, lyrics and drama.
Understanding culture in this way would impact our understanding of play.
Lindqvist’s theory of play and her creation of an alternative pedagogical activity indicate a
critique of present practices is preschools and schools—a topic explored in the next section.
The Swedish preschool has a reputation of being progressive and child centered. But Lindqvist
asks why in reality play is not practiced in the Swedish preschool, despite the rhetoric that play
is important and the concept of “free play” is almost a mantra to Swedish preschool teachers.
Instead of respecting children’s play, the activity is based on the daily routines in combination
with teaching “adult knowledge” and norms to the children. Lindqvist’s explanation for this
situation is that the preschool pedagogy is not built on a cultural and aesthetical view but on
psychological theories where art and culture are not emphasized because the creative subjects
are given a subordinated role. The Swedish preschool is founded on a psychology-based theory
where play is considered the child’s solitary activity—a psychology free from societal and
cultural context. Thus, Lindqvist is critical not only of the preschool but of the school as well.
Her main concern, though, is preschool, which she claims is an institution controlled by time
and order. The linear way of perceiving time is in conflict with a child’s subjective experience of
time and space. This underlines the implicit view on childhood—that it has no status or value in
itself and is just a step on the way to adulthood. Moreover, children are exposed to the adults’
need for order. The established order is the adult way of order. This order is there to protect
children from what adults consider chaos, anarchy, lack of goal directedness, and unpredictability.
Instead of managing order and time, Lindqvist asserts, the teacher’s task should be to make the
students interested in the unknown, to make the familiar unfamiliar, and to facilitate new inter-
pretations and meaning making. Children and young people need to perceive their reality from
different perspectives in order to avoid belief in unambiguous truths. They need to be creative.
Lindqvist’s recipe is an aesthetical view on pedagogy. She argues for a pedagogy uniting
consciousness, playfulness, and solidarity. Lindqvist claims there is a need for a comprehensive
theory about the role of the aesthetical subjects in child development and an approach to play
where the relationship between imagination and a child’s abstract thought processes is the focus
of attention. Lindqvist’s pedagogical activity, that is, the creative pedagogy of play is a manifestation
of such an approach.
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Creative pedagogy of play is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration and mix of fields
such as drama, literature, music, dance, art, and pedagogy. Compared to the traditional,
fragmented way of applying aesthetical subjects in Swedish educational settings, Lindqvist
advocates a holistic approach. She wants the entire activity in the preschool and school to be
based on a cultural approach. According to Lindqvist, there seem to be two aesthetical forms of
play. One is connected to music, poetry, and rhythmic movement. This form takes its starting
point in the young child’s poetic and rhythmic relationship to objects and language. The second
form is connected to literary forms and originates from the basic pattern in folktales. This form
can be found in children’s play and stories from the age of 3 but also in children’s literature. The
plot dominates in this aesthetical form of play. The two forms constitute a basis for the didactical
activity of Lindqvist’s creative pedagogy of play.
In many of her publications, Lindqvist provides rich and concrete examples of creative peda-
gogy of play projects. The projects are always based on a theme important in children’s lives,
for example, fear, marginalization, and racism. Lindqvist collaborated with preschools, day care
centers, leisure time centers, museums, and schools. The projects were often intergenerational:
Not only was the older children’s capacity for acting in a theater play combined with the
younger children’s play that developed into conscious dramatizations, but adult participation has
always been crucial.
A project from the aesthetic form of children’s play that Lindqvist calls “music, poetry and
rhythmic movement” was about rhyme. Lindqvist explains that the tension between fantasy and
reality can be found in the ability of rhyme to fortify a child’s understanding of reality. The
deviation in the rhyme from what is correct and well known strengthens the child’s knowledge
about reality because it creates a contrast and hence enhances imagination. Lindqvist reasons
that it is through imagination that children secure their understanding of the world and reality.
Conscious deviation from, or a break with, reality that can be found in nursery rhymes is a
phenomenon that can also be seen in play and art. That is, the discontinuity between the object
and its features gives the object a new meaning, that is, imagination. Lindqvist emphasizes the
significance of “anarchistic” rhymes and poems. These kinds of writing question order, turn
things upside down and create a sense of magic, important to children who are inferior and live
in a “dangerous” world. However, most projects are built on dramatization where playworld is
the significant concept.
The aesthetic form of play that Lindqvist discusses in terms of literary forms, such as folktale
and children’s literature, has three important concepts: (a) playworld, (b) narrative and plot, and
(c) characters. A playworld is a collectively—by children and adults—created and shared world
of fiction. A playworld combines a child’s holistic emotional experience with an aesthetical
relation to reality (Hakkarainen, 2004). To create a shared playworld adults create figures, char-
acters, and plots. The plot is developed in dialogue with the children. The adults get inspiration
from contemporary and classic literature. The idea is not to take a book and then perform it, but
to let the book inspire creation of a playworld where children and adults can play together. The
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story in the book provides children and adults with a common experience to enable them under-
stand each other more quickly and to be able to enter into the world of the story or the fairy tale.
Building up a playworld is a long process, where play is the center, not the result. The process
goes through different phases such as creating roles and characters, researching and bringing out the
foundation for the playworld, and creating the story’s plot. The play environment is important, but it
is through their physical presence that the living characters make the playworld come alive.
In her publications, Lindqvist describes a variety of drama and play projects where play-
worlds are created. One of the projects, which comprises the basis for her thesis, was called
“Loneliness and Togetherness.” It was built around a theme of fear. Two characters were
created. One was a boy, Rasmus, and the other was Fear. The theme starts with a scene where
Rasmus is scared of what is hiding under his bed when he tries to go to sleep. Fear (the sense of
fear personified) is lying under the bed. In the encounter between Rasmus and Fear it is clear
that both of them are scared, but Fear is more frightened than Rasmus. Fear ends up next to
Rasmus in the bed and Rasmus asks if she feels better now when they are together and next to
each other. Fear is not entirely convinced and asks the children if this place is a safe place. The
children answer yes. They then continue to perform and explore fear in a variety of ways,
expressing thoughts and emotions connected to fear. For example, it is possible to take a ride on
a ghost train passing monsters, ghosts, and a variety of scary creatures. When Fear visits the
preschool next time she brings scary (artificial) things such as snakes, spiders, and rats.
Lindqvist explains what happened in the fear-theme. There is a dynamic relationship to the
emotion. It is the inner emotion of Rasmus, which is being expressed, and this emotion has a
dual nature. It is both the inner experience of being scared and the external objects of fear, which
scare him. The play takes place on two levels, partly the dialogue between Rasmus and Fear,
where Rasmus wants to control his fear, and partly between Fear and the children where for the
play they have a decisive role. Their role is to pull Fear out and make her visible. It is the adults
who act out the characters and it is the children who are given the role of being supportive to the
role figures. In this way the children become participants and can create a common world or
fiction. It is the emotion that creates meaning in the whole situation. Even Rasmus’s bed has
been permeated by Fear. The children played in and under the bed for several weeks, Lindqvist
notes, as the bed was charged with the meaning of Fear.
Lindqvist argues that one could perceive the Fear character as a metaphor for the dynamic
relationship between imagination and reality. The inner emotion is taking shape and in that way
the individual (emotion) and the social (the materialized) side unites within the same body. In
order for imagination to develop, a relationship between the internal emotion and the external
world is established. According to Lindqvist this is how Vygotsky describes the process of
imagination, that is, as a dynamics between image making and materialization. The performance
of Fear is so appealing to the children because it addresses their real-life concerns and issues.
The children’s emotions are touched, and it is their interpretations and imaginations that move
the story forward. In addition, their interpretations are a precondition for the play to develop.
Lindqvist connects this to Vygotsky’s statement that art is the emotion’s social form, which she
states is obvious in the play about Fear. In turn, the play about Fear is about the emotions in a
double sense because it is an emotion that is being expressed.
The tale Who Will Comfort Toffle? by Finnish-Swedish author Tove Jansson introduced
another perspective. Loneliness was depicted as the feeling of being worthless and denied an
existence. In the tale the children encountered a world filled with meaning. It is a world with a
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struggle for freedom and the right to exist as small, scared, and different. It is a world where fear
is embedded in life and where the characters’ kindness creates the basis for companionship and
tolerance. In this imaginative world the children experienced Toffle’s fear when encountering
Groke in the fictitious woods copied from the book onto a plastic sheet with a felt-tip pen and
displayed on the wall. On their daily outdoor field trip, they also got to meet and interact with
Toffle and Groke who were personified by their preschool teachers. Once there, they found a
message enclosed in a bottle asking for help from someone called Miffle, who would later
become Toffle’s best friend.
Lindqvist explains. Who Will Comfort Toffle? was shaped in a way that generated play
among all the children. According to Lindqvist, the aesthetical form of the book played a role by
making it possible to dramatize the characters and the plot from the book. Thus, the dramatic
enactment gave life to the plot so that the children could enter into the Moomin Valley, where
Toffle and Miffle are, and influence the dialogue with the main characters. The tension between
threat and companionship in the story gives rise to dynamics in the plot and enables imagination
and play to thrive. The younger children interpret this tension in terms of hunting and thrill. The
older turn the chase on Groke into advanced play. When Groke eventually becomes their friend,
they have an influence on her, so that good and evil become blurred.
Lindqvist gives some general advice about creating playworlds. It is important that the
adults’ “performance” is carried out as a dialogue with the children. It too often and easily
happens that the adults dominate. However, as Lindqvist shows, being in role enables the adults
to find new ways to relate to the children, less framed by the institutional traditions. To be in
role provides the teachers with a sense of freedom, that is, “to be in role liberates the teachers
from the traditional roles and the institutional language game so linked to the teachers’ role in
preschool and school” (Lindqvist, 1995, p. 264, my translation).
Moreover, it is important to choose narratives where children can easily move in and out of roles.
The narrative should be open, giving the children opportunities to follow the plot and influence the
story. The children should be given the opportunity to influence the story through explicit actions
but also by choosing and reflecting on different alternatives. The children should gain a critical
creative approach, and thus the situations and roles should be contradictory. In this way the children
are given the chance to be authors, directors, actors in and of the playworld. Lindqvist (1996) lists
the following as the most important results of her empirical studies of playworlds:
A shared Playworld supports the development of children’s play. There is a need to create cultural
context that the children and adults can relate to in their joint play. The joint fantasy “world” must
also be physical—a real play environment.
In order for the plot to develop, there is a need for a rich content, a theme that emotionally
touches and is interesting to the children as well as the adults. Children often have a dramatic
relationship with their surroundings in that their narratives and play contain basic conflicts.
The basic conflicts have to be woven into a dramatic text, otherwise the joint play runs the risk to
be reduced to a simple “game of tag,” lacking a plot or intrigue. It is the dramatic quality of the text,
which determines if the joint play will develop. Thus there is a need for literary texts with multiple
possibilities for interpretation.
Adults need to dramatize the plot in order for the play to develop. In particular, when acting in
dialogue with the children, it is the adults’ role characters, which give life to the play and push the
children into the fiction. The teachers become mediators and challenge the children’s zone of proximal
development. (pp. 82–83, Lindqvist’s italics, my translation)
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Gunilla Lindqvist’s work is innovative and challenging in several ways. She is critical of the
traditional play theories, which separate and emphasize either emotion or cognition but which
also fail to account for the significance of culture in play. Culture for Lindqvist goes beyond the
dichotomy of culture defined within fine art versus anthropology. She searches for a connection
between play and culture where artistic forms such as movement, sound, and drama are natural
and original components.
She is critical of the way play has been theorized in cultural-historical activity theory. She
presents a unique and, in parts, controversial interpretation of Vygotsky’s work, in particular his
play theory. Through her own play theory she illuminates aspects of Vygotsky’s work, particu-
larly the significance of imagination and creativity, which until today has not been the emphasis
in CHAT research. In this regard she was an innovator ahead of her time.
Her reinterpretation of Vygotsky’s play theory has an expressed purpose of designing, imple-
menting, and studying a pedagogy in which adults assume a creative approach to children’s
play. As such she opens up doors to novel interpretations as well as novel design of pedagogical
activities and tools. Thus, her reinterpretation, particularly its emphasis on the creative quality of
play expressed through the design and implementation of her “pedagogy of creative play,” paves
the way for a cultural approach to play with implications for the practice in preschools as well as
schools. A particularly novel contribution is the active role, which she ascribes to the adults in
play together with joint creation and enactment of playworlds. This reinterpretation with its
emphasis on the creative quality is unique among contemporary Western European and American
theories of play.
In times like the present, when learning is approached very much in terms of preparation and
training for tests, Lindqvist’s work is provocative, yet liberating. Her pedagogy takes the point
of departure in the child’s need and interest, not in the need of the adult world to promote the
child’s learning and development in terms of adult-determined developmental goals by colonial-
izing children’s play. Instead of perceiving adult knowledge, experience, or developmental stage
as the teleology of children’s play, which is common in Western European and American
theories of play, she stresses the intrinsic aspects of play as valuable in a child’s present and
future life. She prefers to talk about meaning making and development of consciousness, rather
than learning and cognitive development. Why then has her theory and pedagogy not received
the recognition it deserves? One explanation might be that, due to illness, Lindqvist’s career as a
researcher was very short—her thesis was completed in 1995 and she became ill in the begin-
ning of 2000. Another reason might be that developmental effects in children were not studied
systematically in the playworlds. Instead, Lindqvist focused her research on understanding the
connection between play and culture, mainly drama and literature, with the aim of developing a
creative pedagogy of play. Nevertheless, some of these gaps are starting to be filled.
Lindqvist’s work has also inspired development of different kinds of playworld projects,
shaped by socio cultural conditions, around the world. Teams in Finland, Japan, the United
States, Serbia, and Sweden are currently, separately, and in conjunction setting up playworld
projects for investigation. What these studies have in common is that they build on Lindqvist’s
play theory and test her pedagogy, but they also strive to develop and go beyond what Lindqvist
created. One main interest is to deepen the understanding of the role of imagination and creativity
in human conduct and the relationship between cognition, emotion and body. By performing
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playworlds of different kinds these studies also evoke new questions such as how to recognize
and appreciate children’s diverse everyday cultures, for example, peer cultures or popular media
culture, both significant aspects of children’s lives. Hence, the legacy of Lindqvist’s work is
beginning to make its mark. Her work inspires and challenges our understanding and interpretation
of socio-cultural and cultural historical theory in general and Vygotsky’s work on play in particular.
This in turn comes with implications for development of meaningful activities for children,
youths, and adults.
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Vygotsky, L. S. (2004). Imagination and creativity in childhood. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology,
42(1), 7–97.
Downloaded By: [Stockholm University Library] At: 13:12 4 October 2010
... Benefits of creative play are further enhanced when integrated with familiar popular culture ("pop culture") themes and narratives (e.g., Harry Potter or Star Wars), which may positively influence participant engagement ( Kollars and Rosen 2016 ). While creative play research has primarily focused on pedagogical benefits for youth ( Nilsson 2009 ), creative play for adult learners has recently gained serious consideration ( Power 2011 ;James and Nerantzi 2019 ;Mills and King 2019 ;Smith 2019 ;Wade and Piccinini 2020 ). ...
... Fantastical role play also aligns with Lindqvist's (1995Lindqvist's ( , 1996 concepts of creative play and playworlds, which has been demonstrated as an effective pedagogical approach. Nilsson (2009) highlights that creative pedagogy of play and playworld, presented by Swedish play scholar Gunilla Lindqvist, manifests the theories of play, imagination, and creativity by Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Creative pedagogy, as Nilsson ( 2009 , 18) describes, is "an interdisciplinary collaboration and mix of fields such as drama, literature, music, dance, art, and pedagogy", which manifests as a playworld, a fictional and interactive role play composed of narratives, plots, and character-performed interactions. ...
... Similar to Lindqvist's playworlds, fantastical simulations typify creative play and role-play structure ( Maroney 2001 ;Nicholson 2012 ), stimulating playful creativity for enduring learning ( Carnes 2014 ) while promoting engagement and content application ( Bell 2018 ). The characteristics of fantastical simulations also align with Lindqvist's playworlds: fictional narratives that set the stage for players to begin, which are subsequently interacted with and adapted by the players' actions ( Nilsson 2009 ). This interactive, co-creative approach to fictional role playing closely aligns with the essence of D&D, which involves "adventurers" embarking on some goal (i.e., "quest") within a fantastical setting that they explore and interact with. ...
Research demonstrates that simulations encourage students to apply their understanding of theories and content, navigate problem-solving processes with peers, support student motivation for learning, and reflect afterward to enrich their comprehension of course materials. Peacebuilding and international relations scholars have implemented simulations to improve student learning and understanding about complex dilemmas, such as collective action, structural inequality, post-conflict reconstruction, climate change, disaster management, and terrorism. However, studies of real-life-based simulations also indicate that they may entrench, rather than subvert, students’ extant bias, perpetuate cultural misrepresentation, and pose logistical challenges for instructors and students. We thus add to scholarly debates about the utility of role-play simulations in internationalized pedagogy settings by asking and answering: Do adult learners perceive fantastical role-play simulations as effective teaching and learning tools for cross-cultural negotiation? We bridge disparate literature on (1) simulations as active learning tools, (2) real-life simulation approaches for teaching cross-cultural studies, and (3) creative play pedagogy to investigate the utility of fantastical simulation as a pedagogical approach for teaching cross-cultural negotiation theories. While we examined the perceived effectiveness of fantastical simulations for adult learners in a graduate-level course, more research is needed to understand their utility in other classrooms and disciplines.
... Nine articles, which did not show up in the Web of Science search, but were relevant to the purpose of this review were introduced manually. These articles were added because they provided essential information about the notion of perezhivanie [12,22], play-worlds [23][24][25][26][27][28], and the theoretical work of Rey [29]. ...
... The goal of these methods is not to explore subject-specific knowledge, but instead to promote or cultivate self-reliance and self-confidence [27]. Topics such as fear, security, loneliness, racism, marginalisation and the feeling of being worthless or denied are common [28,54]. Conflicts are embedded inside the storyline, and the method supports children in experiencing the unknown in a secure, fictional environment. ...
... Research influenced by the social perspective situates perezhivanie within the context of social dynamics and places focus on social positioning or the development of pedagogical methods intentionally designed to create positive experiences of learning [24,25,28]. Here, the concept of perezhivanie provides a logic for intentionally affecting learning over a lifetime. ...
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Perezhivanie is a concept that was originally defined by Vygotsky, but it did not become a part of educational theory until recently. Today the concept has been revived, and it is now used as a way to include emotional aspects into education and educational research. The concept also provides a rationale for describing and forming personalised learning. The present study provides a literature review with the aim of covering the variety in definitions of the concept, as well as the different perspectives that the concept lends to research in general, and to research with focus on early years education in particular. Results show that the concept has been applied within the most common theoretical perspectives in use today (such as social, cultural and subjective perspectives) with an interesting array of outcomes, such as design of educational methods, analysis of different modes of experiencing and development of self-awareness. The use of this concept becomes a shift toward more emotional perspectives of learning and development that may not be altogether positive, as perezhivanie holds the risk of blurring the border between psychotherapy and education, which is something that would provide new challenges for education in general and especially for teacher education.
... Although there are versions of playworlds that are adapted for work with persons in middle childhood, adolescence, and adulthood [21,22], playworlds are commonly situated in early childhood settings. This approach, which was introduced and developed several decades ago in Sweden by Gunilla Lindqvist [20,23], has also been developed and studied by researchers and practitioners in Finland, Japan, Serbia, and the United States [21,[24][25][26]. Broadly speaking, playworlds involve the joint creation by adults and children of a shared imaginary world often loosely based on a narrative, often from children's literature or drama. ...
... Development of a playworld is often a long-term process in which the children and adults collaborate in the creation and enactment/use of characters, props, and plots. In playworlds that rely on children's narratives as an organizing feature, the narratives are selected to ensure the inclusion of tensions rooted in contradictions of character and circumstance (i.e., drama), as these motivate participants to pursue creative and critical approaches to engaging in joint play [26]. It is these dramatic qualities that underpin the emotional pull, drawing children and adults into the play and making them invested in it. ...
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We investigate the concept of care in adult-child joint play through two cases that illustrate ways in which the development of care relations among researchers, pedagogues, and children—and the imaginary characters they create through their joint play—shape and sustain early childhood education and care research and practice. We focus on the ways that early childhood education and care pedagogues’ approaches to care provide insights into practices of social sustainability, specifically social inclusion. The cases we present are drawn from recent studies of early childhood play. The studies belong to a corpus of international research projects that are researcher-teacher collaborations. These studies explore a unique form of adult-child joint imaginary play known as playworlds. Playworlds are based on cultural historical theories of development and art, Gunilla Lindqvist’s studies of playworlds, and local theory and practice of early childhood education and care. Our analyses of playworlds are based, in part, on Winnicott’s concept of transitional objects. The two cases are drawn from ECEC playworlds in Finland and the US. Each exemplifies how playworlds, as forms of participatory design research, make social sustainability possible. Furthermore, these cases highlight how, by working with the boundaries between and moving between real and imagined, the participants are able to develop new ways of being that are radically inclusive. We argue that they do so by facilitating and maintaining the development of care relations among researchers, teachers, children, and, importantly, imaginary characters, in ways that create what we call transitional subjects. We conclude that social sustainability, like care, should be conceived of as an ecology of caring practices.
... The work of Lindqvist, written about by Nilsson (2009), is built on the theories of Vygotsky and demonstrates one way we might re-conceptualize project-based learning to include imaginative literature. Lindqvist concept of the literary body in place is structured to nurture young children's social interactions specifically, but aims to create permeable borders between home and school. ...
... For example, role-play has been used to educate nursing students in an interactive way, trust games to build team relationships, and ice breaker activities, such as nurse bingo, to encourage a playful environment, are included in the top ten list of nursing games(Wilson, 2018). Role-play in nursing simulations is accepted and evidenced within the literature, particularly in simulation settings in higher education nursing programs(McAllister et al., 2013;Nilsson, 2010;Reid Searl et al., 2014;Tilbrook, Dwyer, Reid-Searl, & Parson, 2017a) Allen et al. (2013) modified an undergraduate nursing curriculum to include role-play and experiential learning to promote inclusive cross-cultural anti-discriminatory teaching approaches.McAllister et al. (2013) discuss the many creative, fun, imaginative ways simulations can be conducted using role-play approaches including puppet play. Reid utilises interpersonal theory to teach humanistic skills to students through masked education simulation, see for example, Reid-Searl (2014) on the following YouTube link ( ...
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The nursing academic, who is responsible for settingthe playful conditions, creates a safe and permissive learning environment,which in turn facilitates the student’s ability to engage in fun exploratorylearning activities. It is hypothesised that the use of a humanistic stancewith playful engagement such as, projective small world play, will facilitateoptimal teaching conditions in the higher education sector.
... Lindqvist, 1995) is seen throughout the papers' examples, as settings are being created to promote children's imaginative engagement with different sorts of cultural themes. As Nilsson (2009) rightly underscored, part of the point of playworlds is that they are a joint creation of adults and children. This joint interaction can in this paper be separated into the direct and indirect forms of guided play, as a playworld might be created within the direct interaction of teachers and children, or as an indirect interplay between teachers, the preschool environment, and the children's playful engagement within that environment. ...
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This paper explores how preschools can be purposefully designed to aid cultural learning through guided play practices. In recent literature, there has been a renowned interest in the role of the exogenous environment in psychological processes, including learning. The idea that the design of preschools can meaningfully be seen as cultural niche construction and that guided play practices in these environments can aid the preparation for cultural action is promoted, and a theoretical framework is presented. The empirical data draw from a synthesis from three ethnographic research sites in multilingual communities, and data are used to explore how cultural affordances are used in designed environments as part of guided play practices. The results indicate how niche construction of affordances aid cultural learning and is achieved through both direct guided play interaction between teachers and children and also in the way of the indirect design of environments that is incorporated in children's peer play. It is discussed what this means for play research as well as for guided play practices that aim to promote cultural learning.
... This stifles the development of their creativity and motivation for learning. A mismatch exists between the ideal of learning through play and the reality of the pressure preschool teachers face to get children ready for primary school (Bennett, Wood, & Rogers, 1997;Bulunuz, 2013;Fung & Cheng, 2012;McInnes, Howard, Miles, & Crowley, 2011;Nilsson, 2009;Wong, Wang, & Cheng, 2011). Due to this workplay dichotomy, play time is significantly reduced in order to prepare children for formal schooling (Fisher, Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff, & Gryfe, 2008;Huisman et al., 2013;Milteer & Ginsburg, 2012;Nicolopoulou, 2010;Nicolopoulou, Barbosa de Sá, Ilgaz, & Brockmeyer, 2009;Sandberg & Heden, 2011;Van Oers & Duijkers, 2013). ...
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It is widely acknowledged that play and creativity are both crucial elements in preparing preschoolers with a quality head start to cope with future challenges. However, research evidences indicated that play and creativity are not effectively incorporated in many preschool classrooms. There is also a dearth of research on creative play as an integrated domain. This conceptual paper provides an overview of play and creativity in the context of Malaysian early childhood education, in light of their impact toward young children's learning and development. This paper integrates both play and creativity as the creative play approach, hence proposes its implementation in early childhood teaching and learning across the nation. In order to promote the implementation of creative play in early childhood settings, the Creative Play SEA Model is proposed. Opportunities for professional development are recommended to provide concrete and continual support for preschool teachers in incorporating the creative play approach.
There has been a number of institution-based interventions aiming to tackle the adverse effect of orphanages on child development, but few have focused on the development of emotion regulation (ER). Conversely, research shows that early childhood is a critical time for ER development and imaginative play is an effective tool. Therefore, this paper aims to explore whether and how collective play can support ER development of the young orphanage children. Based on the cultural-historical theory of emotion and ER development, we implemented an educational experiment (Hedegaard, 2008b) of collective play for ten weeks in an orphan-care institution in China. Diandian (pseudonym), aged 4.5 years, was observed as she expressed fear towards a “scary” cleaner in her everyday life and participated in the collective play activities. 78 h of digital video data were collected and analysed. The findings demonstrate the process where the raw emotion of fear was made conscious through enacting and re-enacting play roles, which eventually led to Diandian's regulation of fear in play. We argue that even though an orphanage is not comparable to typical family settings, there are still possibilities for a dynamic social environment to be created for its children where ER development is supported pedagogically.
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The purpose of this article is to analyze the state of modern research on children’s play, approaches to its study, as well as existing methods of its evaluation. The relevance of the topic is due to the leading role of the play in preschool childhood and the complexity of this phenomenon. Play is actively studied, and play interventions are often used. However, the analysis of the literature shows confusion and uncertainty of terminology due to a large spread of theoretical positions and methodological approaches to the study of play. This creates great difficulties in planning and conducting research, and affects their results. The article deals with the issues of defining and classifying play, understanding its structure and development. The main trends of modern research and their connection with classical game theories, the role of cultural-historical approach and the contribution of E.O. Smirnova to the study of play are shown.
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The article describes an extension of the original idea of the fifth dimension model to pre-school age. We found out that small schildren are not able to use in their activity the tasks formulated by the adults. Learning tasks inbedded in different narratives were used in 5D environments. Experimental research lead to a hypothesis on the status of narrative learning as ”transitory activity system” between play and school learning. The hypothesis is presented and a transitory model sketched. Examples on children’s sense making and narrative learning in problem situations are are offered at the end of the article.
We call any activity of a person that creates anything new, creative activity. This includes the creation of any kind of inner world or construction of the mind that is experienced and observed only in humans. Looking at human behavior, we can distinguish two basic forms of construction. One form of activity can be called reproductive, and is closely connected with memory, its essence consisting in a person's reproducing or retrieving traces of previous impressions. When I remember the house in which I spent my childhood or a remote country I sometimes visit, I reproduce traces of the impressions I obtained in early childhood or at a time of a journey. In general, in all these cases this activity of mine is not creating anything new; basically, it is more or less just a return of what was.
Soviet psychologists' views of the relationship between psychology and Pavlovian psychophysiology (or the study of higher nervous activity, as it is referred to in the Soviet literature) has long been a matter of curiosity and concern in the United States. Not accidentally, it has also been a matter of concern and dispute within the USSR. The following is an excerpt from a work by one of the Soviet Union's most seminal psychological theorists on this issue. Written in the late 1920s, this essay remains a classic statement of Soviet psychology's commitment to both a historical, materialistic science of the mind and the study of the unique characteristics of human psychological processes.
Lekens estetik. En didaktisk studie om lek och kultur i förskolan [The aesthetics of play. A didactic study of play and culture in preschools]
  • G Lindqvist
Lindqvist, G. (1995). Lekens estetik. En didaktisk studie om lek och kultur i förskolan [The aesthetics of play. A didactic study of play and culture in preschools]. Forskningsrapport 95: 12, SKOBA, Högskolan i Karlstad. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Studies in Education 62. Stockholm/Sweden: Almqvist & Wiksell International.
Lekens möjligheter (The possibilities of play)
  • G Lindqvist
Lindqvist, G. (1996). Lekens möjligheter (The possibilities of play). Lund, Sweden: Studentlitteratur.
En didaktisk studie om lek och kultur i förskolan [The aesthetics of play. A didactic study of play and culture in preschools
  • G Lindqvist
Lindqvist, G. (1995). Lekens estetik. En didaktisk studie om lek och kultur i förskolan [The aesthetics of play. A didactic study of play and culture in preschools]. Forskningsrapport 95: 12, SKOBA, Högskolan i Karlstad. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis. Uppsala Studies in Education 62. Stockholm/Sweden: Almqvist & Wiksell International.
  • Vygotsky L. S.