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The Nexus of Play-based Learning and Early Childhood Education: A Western Australian Account

Wallace, R. and Hesterman, S.ORCID: 0000-0001-7491-5527 (2021) The Nexus of Play-based Learning and Early Childhood Education: A Western Australian Account. Education and Society, 39 (1). pp. 5-24.

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Human development theories identify child-initiated play as the primary source of early learning. Accordingly, the role of early childhood educators is to utilise the natural medium of play as a context for learning; an educational approach known as play-based learning. Recently, Western Australia (WA) has experienced an erosion of play-based learning opportunities across the early childhood education (ECE) spectrum, potentially violating children’s rights. This paper presents research evidence related to this concerning issue. A self-completion, electronic questionnaire was distributed to educators through via several WA early childhood advocacy organisations. Participants (n=204) shared their perceptions about the availability of play-based learning opportunities for young children. Results identified perceived barriers and enablers to providing play-based learning in WA early childhood education settings that impact on children’s wellbeing, development and learning. Assessment of play-based learning provision differed significantly between school-based and early education and care-based educators. Participants supported the implementation of a WA Play Strategy.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Education
Publisher: James Nicholas Publishers
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