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Educ. Sci. 2015, 5(4), 345-362; doi:10.3390/educsci5040345

Children’s Perspectives of Play and Learning for Educational Practice

1
School of Early Childhood, Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Victoria Park Road, Brisbane, Queensland 4159, Australia
2
School of Education, University of Iceland, Sæmundargata 2, Reykjavík 101, Iceland
3
Lady Gowrie QLD Inc., 7 Mallon Street, Bowen Hills, Brisbane, Queensland 4006, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Marianne Knauss
Received: 31 August 2015 / Revised: 14 November 2015 / Accepted: 17 November 2015 / Published: 25 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Play and Learning in Early Childhood Education)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [538 KB, uploaded 26 November 2015]

Abstract

Play as a learning practice increasingly is under challenge as a valued component of early childhood education. Views held in parallel include confirmation of the place of play in early childhood education and, at the same time, a denigration of the role of play in favor for more teacher-structured and formal activities. As a consequence, pedagogical approaches towards play, the curriculum activities that constitute play, and the appropriateness of play in educational settings, have come under scrutiny in recent years. In this context, this study investigates children’s perspectives of play and how they understand the role of play and learning in their everyday activities. This article reports on an Australian study where teacher-researchers investigated child-led insights into what counts as play in their everyday classroom activities. Children (aged 3–4 years) described play as an activity that involved their active participation in “doing” something, being with peers, and having agency and ownership of ideas. Children did not always characterize their activities as “play”, and not all activities in the preschool program were described as play. The article highlights that play and learning are complex concepts that may be easily dismissed as separate, when rather they are deeply intertwined. The findings of this study generate opportunities for educators and academics to consider what counts as “play” for children, and to prompt further consideration of the role of play as an antidote to adult centric views of play. View Full-Text
Keywords: early childhood education; play and learning; children’s perspectives; researching with children; teacher-researchers; video-stimulated interactions; video-recorded interaction; ethnomethodology; conversation analysis; qualitative research early childhood education; play and learning; children’s perspectives; researching with children; teacher-researchers; video-stimulated interactions; video-recorded interaction; ethnomethodology; conversation analysis; qualitative research
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Theobald, M.; Danby, S.; Einarsdóttir, J.; Bourne, J.; Jones, D.; Ross, S.; Knaggs, H.; Carter-Jones, C. Children’s Perspectives of Play and Learning for Educational Practice. Educ. Sci. 2015, 5, 345-362.

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Educ. Sci. EISSN 2227-7102 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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