Playing to Learn : The role of play in the early years book cover
1st Edition

Playing to Learn
The role of play in the early years

ISBN 9780415558822
Published July 21, 2010 by Routledge
142 Pages - 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Sandra Smidt sets out to explain what play is and why it is so important as one of the key ways of learning, particularly - but not solely - for young children. She argues that all play is purposeful, and can only truly considered to be play when the child has chosen what to do, where and how to do it.

Using case studies drawn from all over the world, Smidt challenges some of the prevailing myths relating to play and pays close attention to what it is that early years professionals need to do to interpet the play, understand its purpose for the child and sometimes extend it.

Attention is paid to the close links that play has with creativity, and the author also highlights the importance of being able to explain to colleagues, parents and even those in government, why play matters so much in terms of learning and development.

This book will be of interest to anyone involved in early years’ education.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. What is this thing called play?  2. Taking inventory of the world  3. Agency and ownership  4. Memory and its role in play  5. A sense of self: a sense of others  6. Sharing feelings and thoughts: playing at being an artist  7. Sharing feelings and thoughts: playing at being a symbol user  8. War play, cruel play, tragic play  9. Why play matters: voices

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Sandra Smidt is a retired educationalist, who now writes on aspects of early learning and development.  Her most recent books include: Key Issues in Early Years Education (as editor); Introducing Vygotsky; Supporting Multilingual Learners in the Early Years and A Guide to Early Years Practice, 3rd edition – all published by Routledge.


'Sandra Smidt brings together a wealth of contemporary thinking ...which brings quality early years playful pedagogy alive. The book is based on a lifetime of observations and reflections on children’s play and will be a wonderful resource for early years students on a wide range of courses. The author has included excellent examples of children’s play and learning from a range of cultures... outlines beautifully and concisely many of the major learning theories over the last several decades and sets them clearly in a play context. This alone will make this book an excellent resource for practitioners across the early years disciplines'
Janet Moyles, Emeritus Professor (Anglia Ruskin) and Play Consultant