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Play-based learning: Annotated resource list

The resources described below suit professional reading and discussion for teachers in the early years.

Resource and description Details and location
Karen Wohlwend: Indiana University portal

An early childhood expert on play-based learning, Wohlwend provides her articles and blog online.

Play and literacy

Wohlwend situates play in the literacy classroom with strong connections to reading and writing.

Wohlwend, K 2011 Playing Their Way into Literacies: Reading, writing, and belonging in the early childhood classroom, Teachers College Press, New York..

Play-based Learning in the Primary School

Briggs and Hansen investigate practical ways play can be used in primary school settings to improve engagement, motivation and fun in learning. They also discuss the theoretical principles and planning that underpin play-based learning.

Briggs, M and Hansen, A 2012, Play-based Learning in the Primary School, London, Sage Publications Ltd.

Pinterest: Play-based learning ideas

Ideas for play-based learning.

Early Childhood Australia: Why play-based learning?

Practical information and advice on implementing play-based learning.

Play and writing: Authentic ways to develop oral and written  literacy

To motivate writing in the early years, Biordi and Gardner created 'Ten Minutes Play, Ten Minutes Write'. In the 'sewing project' children engaged with design, negotiation, problem-solving, fine-motor skills and writing procedural texts to construct a zebra.

An early years teacher talks about challenges of curriculum

Gaedtke shows how to create relevant and personally meaningful learning environments to introduce reading and writing through authentic play scenarios, including:

  • hospital — creating signs, props, a list of illnesses and waiting room magazines
  • cinema — making posters, tickets and program.

Gaedtke, L 2010 'Playing" with the National Curriculum', Educating Young Children: Learning and Teaching in the Early Childhood Years, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 12–14. Available from:

Play-based learning in content-rich environments

Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff explore the compatibility of learning and play to develop language, literacy, academic skills and content knowledge.

Hirsh-Pasek, K & Golinkoff, R 2011
'The great balancing act: Optimizing core curricula through playful pedagogy'.
In E Zigler, S Barnett & W Gilliam (eds) The Pre-K Debates: Current controversies and issues, Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, pp. 110­–115.

Play in the early years

This book contains vignettes and real-world examples to help teachers connect theory to practice. Melbourne-based Professor Fleer presents and analyses the latest research and theories about early childhood pedagogy and play.

Fleer, M 2013 Play in the Early Years, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Borrow or buy at:

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