Bodily Play in the After-School Program: Fulfillment of Intentionality in Interaction between Body and Place


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American Journal of Play;3 (3)


The Strong

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This article investigates the relationship between children in an after-school program (ASP) and the places where they play. It focuses on the kind of bodily play the children themselves choose and control. The author applies a life-world approach to this study, and his theoretical perspective is based on phenomenological philosophy. The qualitative research included interviews of children in a Norwegian ASP and the close observation of these children engaged in free play at two distinctive locations on the grounds of one ASP facility. The findings show that children’s understanding of place closely associates with their own bodily play. Bodily play appears meaningfully directed toward places and offers children the immediate opportunity to fulfill the intentionality of their activities. Such play serves an important role in constituting and adjusting the background for later actions, and the author concludes that this kind of bodily play should be encouraged in ASP. He concludes further that ASP itself should be emphasized as a complementary but contrasting niche in a school’s physical-education scheme, an emphasis that requires sound pedagogical judgments by professional staff.



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