Leaning through play, Australian educators' perspectives, and the Early Years Learning Framework

Yeshe Colliver

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


    Because most western early childhood education and care (ECEC) centres are play-based, it is important to ensure children are learning when they play in these centres (Saracho, 2012; Wood, 2013). Yet this has been a particular challenge for policy-makers, ECEC teacher trainers, and educators themselves (Anning, 2010; Ryan & Goffin, 2008; Wood, 2007). Recently, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has forged a National Quality Agenda that has included Australia’s first Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) for the field (DEEWR, 2009). In an analysis of the EYLF, Grieshaber (2010) found three significant changes to traditional provision for play. At the core of these lies an imperative that educators take a more “intentional” role in children’s learning through play than they have traditionally (DEEWR, 2009, p. 10). Because educators’ capacity to undertake this role is directly affected by their perspectives (Sofou & Tsafos, 2010), this paper reports on a qualitative case study of educators’ perspectives on their role in learning through playsince the introduction of the EYLF. Yet, instead of asking normative questions relating the EYLF imperatives, the study investigated their perspectives in relation to learning through play per se. Sociocultural theory (Hedegaard, 2008, 2009; Rogoff, 1995) framed this study of the perspectives of five educators in a play-based centre. Deductive analysis compared their perspectives to the EYLF’s three new changes. Results suggest that educators made arbitrary connections between child-initiated play episodes and the EYLF’s Learning Outcomes. The paper argues how teacher education must focus more on capitalising on child-initiated play interests, and on educators initiating educational play experiences for children.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages1
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventEarly Start: Improving children's lives: Translating research for practice, policy and community - Wollongong, Australia
    Duration: 28 Sept 201530 Sept 2015


    ConferenceEarly Start
    Internet address


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