McInnes, K, Howard, J, Crowley, K and Miles, G (2013) 'The nature of adult–child interaction in the early years classroom: implications for children's perceptions of play and subsequent learning behaviour.' European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 21 (2). pp. 268-282. ISSN 1350-293X

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Within early childhood education, play is central to teaching and learning but it is considered difficult to define and traditionally definitions have been based on adult perceptions of the observable play act. However, play may be most beneficial when it is considered as an approach to a task, and based on a definition of play from the child's perspective. Previous studies have revealed that children define play using cues within their environment and one critical cue is adult presence: Children appear to be less likely to define and approach an activity as play if an adult is present. It is hypothesised that the way adults interact with children may have an effect on children's use of this cue. This study examines adult–child interactions in early years classrooms to identify factors related to children's use of this cue. Findings suggest that issues of control and choice communicated via open questions, and exchanges based on mutual understanding and shared control might be central to this. It is proposed that this style of adult–child interaction needs to be developed in order to co-construct a play-based curriculum to maximise playfulness and hence learning.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: play, playfulness, control, choice, adult–child interactions
Divisions: Institute for Education
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2016 14:36
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2017 08:39
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