EDUC06017 2016 Learning through Play

General Details

Full Title
Learning through Play
Transcript Title
Learning through Play
N/A %
Subject Area
EDUC - Education
SOCS - Social Sciences
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2016 - Full Academic Year 2016-17
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Aoife Cooney, Silvia Gursinski, Maire Hanniffy
Programme Membership
SG_HEARL_G07 201600 Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Care and Educ SG_HEARL_H08 201700 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Early Childhood Care and Educ SG_HEARL_H08 201800 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Early Childhood Care and Educ SG_HENGL_H08 202100 Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Humanities in Joint Major: English and Psychology

In this module students will examine the concept and components of play. This will include exploring what play means, the social and cognitive stages of play, the types of play, the practice elements of play and the connection to learning and development in the Early Years. Students will examine the use of play in relation to learning and curricula design, implementation, and reflection in the context of Early Childhood Care and Education settings policies, Siolta the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Aistear the Early Childhood Curriculum Framework.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Explain a) the concept of play b) the types of play, and c) the stages of play with specific reference to Siolta and Aistear


Analyse a) the differences between free play and structured play, and b) play activities and opportunities in relation to the developmental benefits of babies and young children, including emergent literacy and numeracy skills, and c) the issues that arise in relation to inclusive play such as gender and cultural diversity.


Evaluate the role of the adult in observing, planning, implementing, assessing, documenting and reflecting on both free play and structured play activities and opportunities for babies and young children in ECCE settings using Siolta and Aistear.


Explore a) the impact of their own view and attitudes towards children in their practice, and b) the fulfilment of their role in relation to ethical practices.


Illustrate the unique importance of outdoor play and the benefits, with specific consideration of risky play and engagement with the natural environment.


Reflect on key learning experiences demonstrating a more detailed understanding of reflective models

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Students will attend a 1 hour lecture and a 2 hour tutorial weekly. The lecture will explore the theory and relevant legislation. The tutorial will allow students to apply the knowledge from the lecture through participatory activities that equip the students with skills to facilitate children's learning through play.


Students will attent a hour hour tutorial weekly for personal development planning

Module Assessment Strategies

70% Essay addressing Learning Outcomes  1, 2, 3, 4

30% Group Project addressing Learning Outcome 5

Cumulative mark of Essay and Group Project will be scaled to 90%

10% Reflective Written Assignment and Presentation (Personal Development Planning)

Repeat Assessments

Repeat Essay

Indicative Syllabus

Learning Outcome One

  • Definitions of Play
  • Play Theories and the development of play – classical theories vs contemporary theories
  • Types of Play – Creative, Physical, Games with Rules, Pretend and Language
  • Characteristics of Play – Active, Adventurous and risky, Communicative, Sociable and active, Meaningful, Therapeutic, Voluntary, Symbolic, Involved and Enjoyable
  • Social Stages of Play – Solitary, Parallel, Spectator, Partnership/Associative and Co-operative
  • Cognitive Stages of Play – Early Practice, Constructive/Mastery, Early Symbolic, Symbolic, Games with Rules
  • Knowledge and application of Siolta and Aistear with reference to play and learning


Learning Outcome Two

  • Free Play – child led approach
  • Structured Play – adult led and adult initiated approach
  • The role of the adult in facilitating both types
  • The concept of choice and voluntary play
  • The role and benefits of play in the developmental areas – physical, cognitive, language, emotional and social
  • Schemas – Athey, Nutbrown and Sylva
  • Developmentally Appropriate Practice
  • Literacy and numeracy strategy
  • Inclusive play – including children ‘on the margins’, positive relationships, respecting similarities and differences, belonging and identity
  • Knowledge and application of Siolta and Aistear with reference to play and learning


Learning Outcome Three

  • Introduction to Observation – gathering information about the children and their play
  • Co-construction of play – engaging with children as active learners
  • The importance of Planning – Curricula Design: daily activity plans and short, medium and long term plans incorporating Aistear and Siolta
  • The concept of affordance - Organising environment, Resourcing Environment, Time and Space
  • The concept of scaffolding – enhancing and extending children’s learning through play
  • Low quality and high quality play – 12 features of free flow play (Tina Bruce)
  • Learning Record Templates (Aistear)
  • Assessment – Child led and Adult led, features of good assessment practice (Aistear)
  • Reflections –gathering information and planning for future
  • Knowledge and application of Siolta and Aistear with reference to play and learning


Learning Outcome Four

  • Connection with the child sociology of childhood - the image of the child
  • Competent and confident learners
  • The rights of the child
  • Development of practitioner dispositions, skills and abilities in line with Aistear
  • Ethical Practices
  • Knowledge and application of Siolta, Aistear, the UNCRC and Article 42 A of the Irish Consitution.


Learning Outcome Five

  • The principles of playing and learning outdoors
  • The 12 learning bays - Imaginative area, Creative Area, Snack Area, Horticultural Area, Large Scale Construction Area, Sand and Water Area, Quiet Area, Climbing Area, Wheeled Vehicle Area, Large Movement Area, Small Scale Equipment Area, Nature area
  • Risky Play
  • Engagement with the natural environment
  • Managing risks and hazards

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
100 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Essay Continuous Assessment Essay 70 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4
2 Group Project Project Group Project 30 % Any 5
3 Personal Development Planning 10% Continuous Assessment Assignment 0 % Any 6

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Not Specified Lecture 1 Weekly 1.00
Tutorial ECCE Skills Laboratory Tutorial 2 Weekly 2.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 3.00 Hours

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources


Duncan, J. & Lockwood, M. (2009). Learning through play: a work-based approach for the early years. London: Continuum International Pub. Group.

Hayes, N. (2010), Early Childhood An Introductory Text. Dublin: Gill & MacMillan.

Lindon, J. (2001). Understanding children's play. Cheltnam: Nelson Thornes.



Bruce. T. (1996). Helping young child to play. London. Hodder & Stoughton

Bruce, T. (2001). Learning Through Play. London: Hodder Arnold

Curtis. A. & M. O'Hagan (2009). Care and education in early childhood. A student's guide to theory and practice. 2nd Edition. London: Routledge.

Mhic Mhathuna, M. & Taylor, M. (2011). Early Childhood Education & Care: An Introduction for Students in Ireland. Dublin:Gill & Macmillan Ltd


Other Resources

Department of Education and Skills. (2006). Síolta, the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education. Dublin: Departmetn of Education and Skills.

Department of Education and Skills. (2011). LITERACY AND NUMERACY FOR LEARNING AND LIFE The National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020. Dublin: Department of Education and Skills.

National Children's Office. (2004). Ready, Steady, Play! A National Play Policy. Dublin: National Children's Office.

NCCA. (2009). Aistear The Early Chidhood Curriculum Framework. Dublin: NCCA.