Rethinking Play


Sofia Avgitidou, University of Western Macedonia, Greece
Mandy Andrews, University of Plymouth, UK
Annerieke Boland, iPabo University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands


In the context of EECERA Rethinking Play has to be thought provoking and reflecting on issues that relate to developments at scientific, social, educational and policy level; multidisciplinary and open for theoretical and practice based research; sensitive to issues of diversity, and rights and lived experiences of children.

The SIG Rethinking Play discusses several issues among which:

  1. Cultural differences in the concept of play and the valuation of the role of play in young children’s learning and education. Consequences for exchange of ideas with non-western colleagues and the implementation of play-based programmes in non-western countries.
  2. The role of the teacher in supporting and stimulating young children’s play and learning, including the discussion of educational preschool programmes.
  3. Play and learning of children under 3 years old in day care centres

SIG Members:

Andrews Mandy
Sara Araujo
Sofia Avgitidou
Anne-Rieke Boland
Johanna Einarsdottir
Irene Gunning
Maritta Hannikainen
Anna Magnea Hreinsdóttir
Kristin Karlsdottir
Maelis Karlsson-Lohmander
Eleni Loizou
Maria Kyriakou
Lise Lemay
Bert van Oers
Maulfry Worthington


Click to view the 2020-2021 report (pdf) Sofia Avgitidou, Mandy Andrews & Annerieke Boland
Click to view the 2019-2020 report (pdf) Sofia Avgitidou, Mandy Andrews & Annerieke Boland
Click to view the 2017-2018 report (pdf) Sofia Avgitidou and Mandy Andrews
Click to view the 2016-2017 report (pdf) Sofia Avgitidou and Mandy Andrews
Click to view the 2015-2016 report (pdf) Sofia Avgitidou, Natalie Canning & Mandy Andrews
Click to view the 2014-2015 report (pdf) Sofia Avgitidou and Maritta Hännikäinen
Click to view the 2013-2014 report (pdf) Sofia Avgitidou and Maritta Hännikäinen

News & Events

We would like to offer a Rethinking Play SIG in lieu of meeting at EECERA Conference 2020 and invite you to join us on Friday 11th September 14:00 – 16:00 BST (or UTC+1).  This would give an opportunity to catch up with your ideas and research, share some current thinking, and discuss the impact of COVID-19 on children’s play opportunities.

We do hope you will join us.

The agenda we propose is below:

1. Welcome from the Rethinking Play SIG Convenors (10 mins starting at 14:00 BST SA, MA, AB
2. Current thinking on play from the Playwork World

There have been some interesting recent directions in thinking about play arising from Playwork researchers and theorists such as Wendy Russell, Stuart Lester, Pete King, which Mandy is happy to summarise and share as there may be a useful cross-over to early childhood play. (15 mins)

3. Play and Childhood in times of Covid-19.

There is no doubt that the Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions to free roaming and social activity in both large and small spaces, indoors and outdoors, will have an impact on children’s play experiences.  Here is one document that highlights the issue

We would like to have a Rethinking Play SIG discussion on your experiences and understandings of the impact of Covid-19 on children’s play and what key messages should be shared to the world. (45 mins)

4. Your research and opportunities for engagement and sharing

We would love to hear about your ideas on Play and the philosophies and values behind play. However, we thought it may be that there is more use in discussing how you might link up and engage in research or writing projects, or networking to develop ideas. Is there any interest in a ‘Rethinking Play’ Book?

5. Date for next virtual meeting and any other SIG business

We would like to propose a further SIG meeting on 15th  January 2021.


6. Close 16:00

We thought that rather than sharing our research one by one online it would be really helpful to have a little booklet of your research engagements in advance. We can then make best use of the meeting for discussion and making connections. Breaking into groups if needed. We attach a form for you to use. It would be great If you could return this ASAP (with your confirmation of attendance) so that the booklet can be compiled and sent out to all who are attending.

Please confirm with the convenors if you would like to attend the meeting and we will then send a zoom link.

We look forward to reconnecting soon.

Kind Regards,

Mandy Andrews, Sofia Avgitidou and Annerieke Boland

Activities & Publications

The SIG has proceeded to the publication of a Special Issue in the EECERJ titled “Promoting Play for a Better Future”. Guest editors: Hännikainen, M., Singer, E., & van Oers, B. (2013).

Hännikäinnen, M., Singer, E., & van Oers, B. (2013). Promoting play for a better future. Editorial to special issue for European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 21(2), 165 – 171.

The SIG has also proceeded to the development of a position paper about play which is out forward as an ongoing and open position paper.  Therefore, we invite researchers and academics from all over the world to contribute drawing from their studies in different countries and thus enriching the perspectives included in the paper.

Current SIGs