While firmly acknowledging the importance of play in early childhood, this book interrogates the assumption that play is a birthright. It pushes beyond traditional understandings of play to ask questions such as: what is the relationship between play and the arts – theatre, music and philosophy – and between play and wellbeing? How is play relevant to educational practice in the rapidly changing circumstances of today’s world? What do Australian Aboriginal conceptions of play have to offer understandings of play?
The book examines how ideas of play evolve as children increasingly interact with popular culture and technology, and how developing notions of play have changed our work spaces, teaching practices, curricula, and learning environments, as well as our understanding of relationships between children and adults. This multidisciplinary volume on the subject of play combines the work of some of the world’s leading researchers in the field of early childhood education with contributions from distinguished and emerging scholars in areas as diverse as education, theatre studies, architecture, literature, philosophy, cultural studies, theology and the creative arts. Reconsidering the common focus on play in early education, to investigate its broader impact, this collection offers a refreshing and valuable addition to studies on play, reconceptualizing it for the 21st century.