Learning through Play: Creating a play-based approach within early childhood contexts

Christine Robinson, Tracy Treasure, Dee O Connor, Gerardine Neylon, Cathie Harrison, Samantha Wynne

Research output: Book/ReportEdited book/Anthology


The vision for this text was born from the belief that, by contributing to the creation of a shared
understanding of play and play- based pedagogies, we could positively influence the everyday practices
of educators and improve the learning experiences of children. As a profession, if we are to effectively
advocate for play as the context for children’s learning, we must all speak the same language. The
development of this text has sought to address this need for a shared language. Central to its aim is the
inclusion of contextualised examples for educators in Australia. The first purpose of the text, therefore,
is to articulate the necessity of play in the early years. The second purpose is to provide guidance on
how play- based pedagogies can be planned and implemented in early years contexts. It is hoped that
the text provokes reflection on contemporary practices, as well as discussion and debate on future
To facilitate its use either within individual units of study or across a course, the text is divided into
four parts. Part 1, the initial three chapters, provides a discussion on the centrality of play to children’s
development and learning by drawing on a range of theories and perspectives on play. Part 2 addresses
the role of the indoor and outdoor environments within a play- based approach. Research literature is
reviewed when considering how the environment can be intentionally constructed to provide children
with learning opportunities that align with a play- based pedagogy. Part 3 discusses the implications
of policy on practice and addresses the professional expectations of planning and documentation of
children’s learning within a play- based approach. The last four chapters of the text, Part 4, consider
some of the issues, challenges and opportunities that may arise when implementing a play- based
approach. Issues of diversity and technology are investigated and international perspectives— and
what they have to offer us— are also explored. Finally, the text concludes with a discussion about the
future of play in early childhood contexts.
It is hoped that this text is embraced as a cornerstone early years resource— one that is widely
adopted across early childhood education courses. It is structured to complement early childhood
education studies by investigating theoretical understandings and perspectives of play initially, before
moving to the practicalities and subsequent challenges of implementing play- based approaches.
The authors have endeavoured to produce a text that assists those in early childhood education to
confidently plan and implement rich play- based approaches. It is a further hope that the knowledge
educators gain from their engagement with this text will support them to advocate articulately for play-
based approaches in the early years.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationSouth Melbourne, Victoria
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages342
ISBN (Print)9780190304829
Publication statusPublished - 5 Mar 2018

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