Position Paper: The Role of Play in ECEC
This is a position paper prepared by the members of the EECERA Special Interest Group “Rethinking Play”. The position paper focuses on the possible impact of the current international trends regarding the instrumentalisation of ECEC on play. The SIG members argue that, due to this standardised approach to ECEC deriving from a collective strive for high quality and performance amongst countries, the very concept of play defined as a spontaneous, creative, socio-cultural activity and also as children’s right can lose its meaning.
Treating play as the vehicle for achieving certain pre-determined learning outcomes limits its full potential and the adults’ recognition of other more difficult to measure but equally important outcomes for children.
The SIG therefore proposes a series of actions that could be taken in order to create an environment that facilitates children’s intrinsic direction and the enactment of children’s initiatives and interests during play. At the same time it stresses the important role of adults working with children that allow and support them to develop their play activities. Based on such an awareness it is crucial that the pre-service education and the professional development of in-service ECEC teachers prepares and supports them in their role as researchers and reflective practitioners.