Understanding Young Children's Learning through Play : Building playful pedagogies book cover
1st Edition

Understanding Young Children's Learning through Play
Building playful pedagogies

ISBN 9780415614283
Published November 17, 2011 by Routledge
174 Pages

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Book Description

This timely and accessible text introduces, theorises and practically applies two important concepts which now underpin early years practice: those of ‘playful learning' and 'playful pedagogies'. Pat Broadhead and Andy Burt draw upon filmed material, conversations with children, reflection, observation, and parental and staff interviews, in their longitudinal study of outdoor and indoor play environments in an early years unit. This research-based text offers extensive insights into related theories, as well drawing on the authors’ skills and knowledge as researcher and as class teacher in order to provide opportunities for personal reflection and possibilities for practical application in early years classes and settings.

Discussing both indoor and outdoor environments, the text explores ideas surrounding ‘open-ended play’, and ‘the whatever you want it to be place’. It illustrates how the themes of children’s play reflect their interests, experiences, knowledge gained at home and in school, and their cultural heritages. By showing how children become familiar and skilful within open-ended play environments, the authors illustrate how the children’s co-operative skills develop over time as they become connected in communities of learners. Alongside the examples of children’s playful learning, the book also considers the implications for resourcing and organising playful settings through playful pedagogies that connect with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum (DfES 2007) and with the Tickell Review, ongoing as the book went to press.

Understanding Young Children's Learning through Play uses children’s perspectives on their play to illustrate how rich their personal understandings are. It also includes parental reflections on what may initially appear a risky and unusual outdoor environment, and it draws attention to the importance of conflict resolution in play in order to extend children’s resilience and assertiveness.

This insightful text will be of interest to students of early years education, early years practitioners, academics and researchers.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. Creating and sustaining open-ended play spaces: giving children space to think, play and learn  2. Young playful learners in open-ended play environments  3. Growing up with open-ended role play, becoming competent, confident players and learners  4. Objects, resources, places, spaces and themes; the role of the adult in helping play to work  5. Building friendships and recognising shared interests  Observing, assessing, recording and planning  7. The potential for open-ended play in Key Stage 1  8. Building a community of playful learners; children, practitioners and parents with shared understandings

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Pat Broadhead is Professor of Playful Learning at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Andy Burt was the Early Years Coordinator at Fishergate Primary School during the joint research and is now the deputy head teacher at Bishopthorpe Infant School in York.


"Broadbent and Burt also provide a brief history of the British National Curriculum (1988) and the effect of the standards movement on the way the English typically incorporate play into early-childhood programs. Their research shows how much children learn when teachers build on children's free play rather than dominate it. As a result, early-childhood practitioners and researchers will find this book a useful read." - Olga S. Jarrett, Georgia State University, American Journal of PLAY