Varied Perspectives on Play and Learning

Theory and Research on Early Years Education

Edited by:
Ole Fredrik Lillemyr, Queen Maud University College
Sue Dockett, Charles Sturt University
Bob Perry, Charles Sturt University

Published 2013

This book brings together an international group of researchers reporting on their work about play and early childhood education across 13 countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, England, Germany, Hong Kong, United States of America, India, The Maldives, Sri Lanka, Singapore, China and Australia. It contributes to growing international conversations about play and the role of play in early childhood education.

Each of the chapters in this anthology reflects different directions in research as well as a range of approaches to reconceptualising play. Each researcher questions assumptions underpinning young children’s play and early childhood education and explores the implications of these questions for further research, practice and policy. Chapters report a wide range of innovative and transformative research, focusing on areas such as the play of infants and toddlers, the role of values in play, the complexity of connections between play and learning, motivation, the role and understandings of early childhood educators in promoting children’s play, risky play and the impact of Westernised approaches to play in different contexts.

This book argues for the importance of children’s play at a time when there is a great deal of pressure to increase the academic focus of early education and to eliminate play that could be deemed risky. Several authors note moves towards pedagogies of play and explore the potential links between play and learning in early education settings. The research reported in this book is a timely reminder of the value of play, for and of itself, as well as the learning potential of play. It provides a pathway into the debates about the role and value of play in early years education for students, researchers and policy-makers.

Preface: Varied Perspectives on Play and Learning: Theory and Research on Early Years Education. Play and Learning in Early Years Education: International Perspectives, Sue Dockett, Ole Fredrik Lillemyr, and Bob Perry. Winnie-the-Pooh Sat in a Tree, or Did He? A Contemporary Notion of Early Childhood Education Beyond Teaching and Free Play, Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson and Niklas Pramling. Perspectives on Play and Learning, and Their Relation to Motivation, Ole Fredrik Lillemyr. Play as the Main Road in Children’s Transition to School, Stig Broström. “Next Time We Can Be Penguins”: Expanding the Concept of Learning Play to Support Learning and Teaching About Sustainability in Early Childhood Education, Susan Edwards and Amy Cutter-Mackenzie. “I Think – I Can”: Acknowledging and Promoting Agency During Educator–Infant Play, Sheila Degotardi. Towards a Child-Oriented Perspective in Toddler Play, Ingrid Engdahl. Values at Stake in Interplay Between Toddlers and Teachers, Kristin Fugelsnes, Monika Röthle, and Eva Johansson. The Educational Importance of Differentiating Exploration of Object from Play with Objects in Childhood, Anthony D. Pellegrini. Learning Risk Management Through Play, Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter. The Pedagogization of Play in Early Childhood Education: A Bernsteinian Perspective, Sue Rogers. Making Room for Diverse Cultural Expressions of Play in the Retheorization of Play Activities, Marilyn Fleer. Serious Learners or Serious Players? Revisiting the Concept of Learning Through Play in Hong Kong and German Classrooms, Doris Cheng Pui-wah and Wu Shu-Chen. Play: Early Childhood Pedagogies and Policies in a Globalizing Asia, Amita Gupta. About the Contributors.