The for it. The space and the toys

The spatial organization dictates howthe children should or should not behave. Hence, the space imposes power onchildren. This kind of power affects the physical body, nevertheless, it isdifferent from violence or force.

The child’s body is moving freely, but it isthe will that is reformed and controlled. Children are not forced to perform aspecific role-playing activity station. They can freely roam around theplayground in the sense that no one directs them to go to the right or to theleft. However, their free will to choose is limited to the activities that theplayground offers. Each role-play is seen as educational and entertainingbecause of the well-maintained surrounding and realistic play equipment,however each role-play activity is highly supervised and controlled.

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Insideeach station is where the disciplinary power greatly operates, aiming to alterthe way of thinking of the children. Inrelation to Lev Vygotsky’s theory on child’s play, role-playing activities inKidZania limit child’s play. KidZania aims to bring role-playing into itshighest expression, a reason for the playground to be established.

The wholeconcept of this role-playing playground resulted from the fascination of itsdeveloper about children’s common behavior, which is to pretend a role. Thebest example is a child playing with a doll, where the child pretends as aparent caring for a baby. This common behavior then was put in a particularspace for it. The space and the toys are designed according to the role-playthat the child desires to satisfy. If the child desires to pretend as a doctor,s/he can go to the hospital station. Inside the station, there are surgicaluniform and tools. The station is also equipped with oxygen tanks, heart ratemonitor, medical bed with medical play doll on it, and other hospital props.

Asstated by Vygotsky, in pretending a role, there is an imaginary situation, andit makes play significant because “the play situation and the realitycoincide.”1However, he points out that there are no rules formulated before the pretendplay, but there are hidden rules ofbehavior that arises from the imaginary situation. These hidden rules ofbehavior are selected by the child although these were adapted from theenvironment creating an illusory freedom.

Conversely, there is a basic systemof discipline that functions in all role-playing activities in KidZania,removing the child’s selection of rules of behavior. According to Jean Piaget,this type of rules that operate in KidZania is called external law in which the child’s morality is developed, and notsimply restriction of the physical movements. The child tells her/himself thats/he must behave in such a way in aspecific situation


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