Children’s perspectives on play
Children’s perspectives on play

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Children’s perspectives on play

4.1 Views on play and creativity

Throughout this course you have been asked to think about your own understanding, values and beliefs about children’s play and creativity. In this final activity, you have the opportunity to consolidate your thinking by listening to the views and personal positions of two people working in the field of early childhood.

Activity 4

Timing: Allow 1 hour to complete this activity

By the time you have completed this activity, you should be able to:

  • describe how a personal position can be translated into supporting young children.

Watch the video of the nursery in central London and listen to Sarah’s personal position about the importance of play and how she defends it through what happens in her early childhood setting.

Download this video clip.Video player: Provision at ‘stay and play’
Skip transcript: Provision at ‘stay and play’

Transcript: Provision at ‘stay and play’

What is it?
Everything that they could possibly need for physical play, creative play, small block work is there. They don't have to ask for it. It's there in some form or another. They can be very quiet and go to a quiet area and read books, or they can run around in the garden. The whole curriculum is there, and that's what's important.
Children don't have to ask, parents don't have to ask. It's there. And the idea is that children access themselves. The baskets are small enough for children to pick down, so they're independent, they're confident, and they're making choices. And that's what makes a happy child. And hopefully when they go on to the next setting they've got those skills. And for us that would be what we want – children that are happy and busy, and exploring and interested.
End transcript: Provision at ‘stay and play’
Provision at ‘stay and play’
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Now watch the video of Morag talking about her views on ‘purposeful play’. Morag is the head teacher of a primary school in Fife, Scotland, so, as you would expect, her personal position is mindful of children’s learning and development.

Download this video clip.Video player: Exploring in Primary 1
Skip transcript: Exploring in Primary 1

Transcript: Exploring in Primary 1

21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.
Purposeful play is very important. It is probably the most effective way of encouraging children to learn at the early level. There has to be a balanced approach, and we very much take a balanced view in Primary 1. For your children there is a place for skill and drill, of course there is, but children need time to explore, they need time to be creative, and to make choices.
And I think that is so important in the Primary 1 setting. If they aren't given these opportunities to explore, really, you know, everything else you might as well just stop, because really, if they don't have that, and they don't have those firm foundations, you know, then everything else becomes a challenge for them later on in their school career.
End transcript: Exploring in Primary 1
Exploring in Primary 1
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Relate Sarah and Morag’s views to the questions in the grid. The questions are based on what Sarah and Morag say when they are talking about the significance of play and creativity.

QuestionsSarah’s positionMorag’s position
What emotions do you feel when hearing Sarah’s and Morag’s responses about the significance of play to them and to the children and families they support?
How are Sarah’s and Morag’s responses represented in the brief glimpse you have of their settings?
What impression do you have of the ability of Sarah and Morag to talk about and share their positions on play?
How do you think their position has been informed by literature, theory or ‘expert opinion’ to inform their understanding and knowledge?
Words: 0
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes to consider their position or perspective on something is indeed a skill. You have to forget what you would do, think or say, and consider where the other person is coming from. The ability to do this relies on having an open mind and a non-judgemental approach. This is not easy, especially when you find yourself facing challenges to long-held opinions about children’s play and creativity. Perhaps you can use your responses to the questions about the videos as starting points for reflection on your personal position and see whether this leads you to bring about changes to the way you approach supporting young children’s play and creativity.


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