Play is central to learning in early childhood education, yet this ubiquitous concept is hard to define. This unit draws on current research of play to extend students' understanding of play as critical to human belonging, being and becoming. This unit draws on students' prior experiences in Early Childhood contexts to understand play more deeply and from different perspectives and generate creative and imaginative ways for students to advocate for children's right to play.
In this unit students will examine Fleer's conceptual playworld, Forest schools/bush kinder, and Edwards digital play. There will be a focus on children's transition to primary school, and the changing role of play in primary school environments. Play therapy, supporting play in the home, and the role of play in social justice will also be explored.

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to: recognise the growth occurring through play in a range of contexts; reflect on the place of play in Early Childhood education and care; and advocate for children's right to play.
This unit will be primarily taught via workshops, drawing on students' previous work and placement experiences in Early Childhood contexts, reading, role play, videos, experimentation, and engagement with play with ideas and objects; imaginative play will also form part of these workshops. 

Philosophical, practical, theoretical, and cultural contexts; psychology, play research, and brain research inform the learning in this unit.

Unit details

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Credit points:
Unit code:


ECE2003 - History, Philosophy and Early Childhood Education

ECE2004 - Engaging with Place through Rethinking Childhoods and Development

ECE2005 - Engaging with Place through Play

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Articulate how belonging, being and becoming develops through play  
  2. Design contexts for play that nurture children's and teachers' lives  
  3. Locate play as a critical activity for human beings  
  4. Advocate for play in children's lives  
  5. Critically analyse contemporary theories and pedagogies of play  


Assessment type Description Grade
Journal Record incidences of play experienced and observed during week one 10%
Presentation Create a presentation to explain the benefits of play 40%
Creative Works Design a play event using material objects to advocate for the importance of play in early childhood education 50%

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