The Use of Socio-dramatic Play Technique in Teaching Verbal and Numerical Problems in Nusery Schools
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The Nigerian parents assessment of the effectiveness of pre-school education centres around the speed and the extent to which their pre-school children master the academic skills. This inappropriate index of academic success has resulted in the predominance of drills and memorisation as the commonest feature of the pre-school classes. Play, which is one of the best methods though which the pre-school age children learn, has been relegated to a state of recess or total abandonment in the nursery schools. Most Nigerian pre-school teachers are not aware of the effective ways of maximising children's learning through play. They are not aware that in a child's play situation, the child abstracts the significant elements of his environment and organises them in meaningful order, that the spontaneous expression of thought and feeling of the child in this play situation is an educational activity.This study was therefore designed to examine whether the use of socio-dramatic play technique will improve the verbal and numerical problem-solving abilities of Nigerian Nursery School children. Its purpose was to determine the instructional value of play for children of varying background using their knowledge of situations, people and places in solving problems. It was also aimed at identifying one of the ways through which nursery school teachers can meaningfully utilize pupil's relevant exepriences in problem-solving. For the study, 10 pre-primary schools were randomly selected from Lagos state pre-primary schools list. From these, a total of 630 pre-primary school children and 20 teachers were selected for the study. Questionnaire, observation schedule and achievement test were the three tools used to collect data. A pre-test-post-test research design was used in the study. Analysis of covariance and t-test were used on the scores obtained.The findings of the study showed significant differences in the verbal and numerical problem-solving performance of pupils taught by the technique of socio-dramatic play and those taught by the conventional teaching method. The study made it clear that the very nature of socio-dramatic play which included the ability of pupils to immitate roles, persist in role imitation, make belief in action and situations and also communicate with others, is capable of generating pupils' interest in learning. The implications of the study in the areas of teacher education, training strategy, curricula tool, early child-hood curriculum and the child's continued learning are highlighted.