Understanding Play: Pedagogy and Possibilities

    Unit code: ECE4001 | Study level: Undergraduate
    (Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
    Footscray Nicholson
    Online Real Time
    ECE2003 - History, Philosophy and Early Childhood Education
    ECE2004 - Engaging with Place through Rethinking Childhoods and Development
    ECE2005 - Engaging with Place through Play
    (Or equivalent to be determined by unit coordinator)


    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 approaches to play including Fleer's conceptual playworld, Forest schools/bush kinder, PlayWork, 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 and the role of play in social justice will also be explored.

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

    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. Advocate for play as a critical activity for human beings and particularly in early childhood
    4. Critically analyse contemporary theories and pedagogies of play

    Study as a single unit

    This unit can be studied on its own, without enrolling in a full degree.

    Learn more about single units of study at VU


    For Melbourne campuses

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

    Required reading

    Links to relevant texts will be available via VU collaborate.

    As part of a course

    This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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