The development of early childhood education in Saudi Arabia using play as a medium of learning.
This study examines the importance of play and its role in the learning
process in selected nursery schools in Britain and Saudi Arabia. In
particular, attention is focused on cognitive, social and physical development
and the provisions made for play in the selected samples in both countries.
The investigation involves a close survey of relevant literature and a
small-scale research conducted by the author through the use of observation,
oral interviews and intervention study.
The major finding of the comparative analysis of nursery schools
sampled in both Britain and Saudi Arabia was that nursery education in
Britain is of a higher quality than that provided in Saudi Arabia. The findings
suggest that in Britain learning provision for children is of a very high quality
and carefully planned to meet children's developmental and learning needs.
There is adequate provision of purpose-built buildings, staff training and
teaching aids which are used during play in Britain, while in Saudi Arabia
there is a dearth of purpose-built building, staff training and teaching aids and
equipment used during play. Play is not employed as a medium of learning
for infants in Saudi Arabia. The study has also found that play enhances
children's cognitive, social and physical development if used as a medium of
learning and within an environment which has very high quality provision.
Based on the findings of this study a number of recommendations are
proposed which aim to improve current pre-school education. These include
the need to recognise the importance of play activities (learning through
play), to young children within the school environment; the necessity for
teachers in Saudi Arabia to employ an exploratory, investigative and
imaginative approach in their day-to-day teaching; the necessity for nursery
school buildings to be purpose-built with emphasis on good play environment
and the urgency for the provision of adequate teaching materials to facilitate
the systematic in service training of staff, all with the aim of raising the
desired standard and quality of nursery education in Saudi Arabia.