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Play and Learning in the Early Years

Play and Learning in the Early Years
From Research to Practice

Edited by:

Play | Play

March 2010 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Providing high quality play experiences is an essential part of good early years education, but this can pose a challenge for practitioners who face pressure from a more didactic primary curriculum, and from parents worried that their children will fail to acquire essential skills and knowledge.

By helping the reader to develop their understanding of the complex relationships between play and learning, Play and Learning in the Early Years examines current theoretical perspectives on play, alongside examples of recent and innovative play research from a range of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. With contributions from leading play scholars, it brings together theory, research, policy and practice in relation to play and learning in early years settings. The emphasis is on the relationship between play and learning, and play and pedagogy, and the need to understand these dimensions more substantially in order to teach with confidence.

Included are chapters on:

  • the influence of play on thinking, problem-solving and creativity
  • cooperative play and learning
  • play, risk and outdoor learning
  • learning to play in cultural context

There are chapter objectives, reflective points, reflective tasks and suggestions for further reading throughout, to facilitate critical thinking and encourage independent study. Suitable for early years practitioners, early childhood students at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and all those who work with and care for young children, this is an exciting and thought-provoking book.

Elizabeth Wood, Pat Broadhead and Justine Howard
Elizabeth Wood
Developing Integrated Pedagogical Approaches to Play and Learning
Liz Brooker
Learning to Play in a Cultural Context
Pat Broadhead
Co-Operative Play and Learning from Nursery to Year One
Pam Jarvis
'Born to Play': The Biocultural Roots of Rough and Tumble Play, and Its Impact upon Young Children's Learning and Development
Helen Tovey
Playing on the Edge: Perceptions of Risk and Danger in Outdoor Play
Emese Hall
Identity in Young Children's Drawings: Power, Agency, Control and Transformation
Kathy Ring
Supporting a Playful Approach to Drawing
Maulfry Worthington
Play Is a Complex Landscape: Imagination and Symbolic Meanings
Justine Howard
Making the Most of Play in the Early Years: The Importance of Children's Perceptions
David Whitebread
Play Metacognition and Self-Regulation
Pat Broadhead, Elizabeth Wood and Justine Howard
Conclusion: Understanding Playful Learning and Playful Pedagogies: Towards a New Research Agenda

'This is an authoritative and detailed analysis of the complexities of children's play in different situations. It is made more accessible by the 'reflection points' scattered through the text that encourage the reader to link theory with examples drawn from their own practice. It is an excellent up to date source of reference, and will be of significant interest to anyone wanting to understand more about the true nature of young children's play and how to enhance it' -
Early Years Update

'This is a fascinating textbook about the role of play within the early years sector and highlights how the target-driven approach can create stress for practitioner and child...[This book is] very readable with interesting case studies. It would certainly prompt good discussion at a staff meeting' -
Children and Young People Now

'Designed to help practitioners at all stages of their professional development to understand different aspects of learning through play, the best thing about the book is the enthusiasm each author brings to sharing their research interests with readers. The authors demonstrate how their work can help practitioners to enrich children's early experiences in childcare and education settings, giving them access to deep thinking about the power of play and the confidence to apply new understandings to their own settings' -
Angela Anning, Emeritus Professor, University of Leeds and Visiting Professor, Leeds Metropolitan University

Good general text for the whole FdA Early Childhood Education programme as covers many aspects of the individual modules

Mrs Terrie Blaszczyk
Froebel College, Roehampton University
June 27, 2018

A very useful piece which tackles different stances to play. Would be better suited for foundation degree learning but a valuable book regardless

Mr Joe Murdoch
Childhood Studies, Isle of Wight College
August 21, 2015

This is accessible and supports the reader's understanding of play and its importance.

Ms Jane hart
School of Education, Nottingham Trent University
September 1, 2015

An excellent book which gives a good insight into the whole ethos of play based early years curriculum.

HESC Office, Barnet College
April 20, 2015

Along with many theoretical perspectives this book represents an interesting comparison between concepts of a ‘transmission/directive approach’ and ‘emergent responsive approach’ in providing purposeful learning environments for children. It also gives meaningful argument towards the power of children’s agency. Good use of research.

Mrs Karen Smith
Early Years, University Centre Barnsley
March 31, 2015

A great complimentry resource that supports my play and learning unit . There are links to a variety of play ideas and to frameworks that support play and practice. Easy to navigate and use as a reference tool. Students have found the layout easy to use and have commented on the up to date information that aids their study.

Ms lisa oneill
Education , City College Norwich
August 24, 2015

an information, easy to use text book

Mrs Alison Loughnane
Early Years Dept, Hopwood Hall College
December 19, 2014

Thought provoking; essential for university students of any HE level in the fields of early years, childhood or early education.

Mr Steven Burton
Carnegie Faculty of Sports & Education, Leeds Beckett University
October 31, 2014

A fasinating read which will help to develop my own continuous professional development. The book will also be strongly recommended to H.E. students to develop their understanding of play and the diverse cultural attitude practitioners may face from parents regarding play.

Mrs Marion Farnworth
Centre of Health & Childhood Studies, Hopwood Hall College
June 1, 2014

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