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Ph.D. Billur Cakirer

From May 15th to 18th Billur Çakırer, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor, from Department of Child Development, School of Health Sciences, Istanbul Arel University (Turkey), visited LUES and Play Research Laboratory. 

Billur stayed at day care center "Gintarėlis" where teachers apply Narrative play and learning approach. Also she had an opportunity to spend some time in LUES day care center "Mažųjų akademija" on campus. She participated in PlayLab activities as well.
Our guest presented lectures for Early Childhood Education (BA and MA) and Developmental and Educational Psychology (MA) students. Here are the abstracts of the lectures:

1. The Role of Play in Inclusion of Culturally Diverse Preschoolers

With the globalization of the job market and recent war in Syria the number of immigrant families has increased in Europe during the last decade. As a result of this immigration flow, cultural diversity and attending to the needs of culturally diverse new arrival preschoolers has become a contemporary issue.

This lecture presents some assumptions that the professionals will be encouraged to take into consideration when implementing play in culturally diverse preschool settings in order to promote inclusion of those children who are at risk of being excluded because of their cultural differences. This topic is particularly important for early childhood educators because inclusion is about being aware of small details and those details are often unperceived by the practitioners as the priority of the system is the academic success, rather than providing an inclusive play environment that would enhance the sense of belonging to the peer group and the peer culture. The lecture will support the idea that the inclusion of culturally diverse children doesn’t happen on its own and teachers should be aware of those details hidden in children’s play activities so that play can facilitate social interaction, sense of belonging to the peer group and learning while having fun.

We will talk about cultural similarities and differences in children’s play, adult’s role in facilitation of inclusion in play settings in early childhood education context and how children include and exclude their peers during play.

2. Introduction To Play Therapy

When examined from lenses of learning processes, play is a natural source of nutrion, from a psychological perspective it is a natural comunication medium for children. Play Therapy is an effective intervention method for children aged 3-12 years who need psychological support.. Therapeutic play helps children with social or emotional deficits learn to communicate better, change their behavior, develop problem-solving skills, and relate to others in positive ways. It is appropriate for children undergoing or witnessing stressful events in their lives, such as a serious illness or hospitalization, domestic violence, abuse, trauma, a family crisis, or an upsetting change in their environment. Play therapy can help children with academic and social problems, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, anxiety, depression, grief, or anger, as well as those with attention deficit disorders or who are on the autism spectrum.

In this lecture we will talk about theoretical foundations and different approaches to play therapy, methods in play therapy, the selection of toys for the play room, therapist’s role in play therapy. The main focus will be on the process of non-directive, child centered play therapy.