The SAGE Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood


Edited by: Liz Brooker, Mindy Blaise & Susan Edwards

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  • Front Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: Theoretical Perspectives on Play and Learning

    Part II: Play and Learning in Pedagogy, Curriculum and Assessment

    Part III: Contexts for Play and Learning

  • International Advisory Editorial Board

    Jo Ailwood, The University of Newcastle, Australia.

    Pat Broadhead, Leeds Metropolitan University, UK.

    Stig Broström, Aarhus University, Denmark.

    Hasina Ebrahim, University of the Free State, South Africa.

    Beth Graue, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, USA.

    Amita Gupta, The City College of New York, CUNY, USA.

    Marjatta Kalliala, University of Helsinki, Finland.

    Rebecca Kantor, University of Colorado Denver, USA.

    Colette Murphy, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

    Ellen Sandseter, Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education, Norway.


    This book is dedicated to all our families, friends and colleagues, with thanks for the conversations that continue to inspire a fascination for all things to do with play.

    Liz Brooker, Mindy Blaise and Susan Edwards


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    About the Editors

    Liz Brooker is a Reader in Early Childhood at the Institute of Education, University of London. Liz was an early years' teacher for many years, and her interest in the home experiences, and transitions to school, of ethnic minority children stemmed from her own work with children and families. Liz has continued to study early transitions, including those of infants and toddlers into their first group-care settings, with a focus on young children's agency as they engage with new environments. More recently her work has focused on play, using a socio-cultural perspective to describe how the social contexts of children's play shape their own development and that of the communities they construct with others.

    Mindy Blaise is an Associate Professor and Co-director of the Centre for Childhood Research and Innovation at the Hong Kong Institute of Education, China, SAR. Mindy's scholarship relates to working with ‘postdevelopmentalism' to reconfigure early childhood research, teaching and curriculum. A large part of this work involves ‘grappling with' feminist practices that are useful for interrupting the notion of the developmental child. Mindy is currently involved in three interdisciplinary international research projects that are examining the situatedness of childhood in the Asia-Pacific region. She is a principal researcher, with Affrica Taylor and Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw, in the Common Worlds Childhoods and Pedagogies Research Collective.

    Susan Edwards is an Associate Professor of Curriculum and Pedagogy in the Faculty of Education at Australian Catholic University. She works as a Principal Research Fellow in the area of early childhood education and specializes in researching aspects of the early childhood curriculum, including play-based learning, teacher thinking, digital technologies and sustainability. Susan is the co-author of Early Childhood Curriculum: Planning Assessment and Implementation, published by Cambridge University Press (2010), and co-editor of Engaging Play, published by Open University Press (2010). She is currently serving as co-editor on the Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education.

    Notes on Contributors

    Jennifer Keys Adair is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education at The University of Texas at Austin. As a cultural anthropologist, she has conducted ethnostudies in early childhood settings across multiple countries and communities. Her current work focuses on how to improve the educational experiences of young children of immigrants. Her work has been published in journals such as Teachers College Record, Harvard Educational Review, Race, Ethnicity and Education, Young Children and Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. She recently coauthored Children Crossing Borders: Immigrant Parent and Teacher Perspectives on Preschool for Children of Immigrants with Joseph Tobin and Angela Arzubiaga. In 2011, Jennifer was awarded the Outstanding Article of the Year award from the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education for her article “Confirming Chanclas: What Early Childhood Teacher Educators Can Learn From Immigrant Preschool Teachers” and in 2012 the Emerging Scholar Award from the Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education SIG of AERA. Jennifer's current research looking at culturally-relevant types of agency in early childhood classrooms is currently supported by the Foundation for Child Development and the Spencer Foundation.

    Doris Bergen is a Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology Emerita at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. She received her PhD from Michigan State University East Lansing, Michigan. She has taught a range of courses related to learning, human development, assessment, early childhood, and educational psychology. A focus of her research interests has been play theory and humour development, including effects of technology-enhanced toys on play, adult memories of childhood play, and gifted children's humour. Her most recent research has been focused on investigating the event-related potentials (ERP) elicited when children engage in two types of video game play. She also is a Miami University Distinguished Scholar, having published 11 books and over 60 refereed articles and book chapters, and was co-director of Miami University's Center for Human Development, Learning, and Technology for many years. The Center was named in her honour after her retirement.

    Laura E. Berk, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology Emerita at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. Her empirical studies have focused on the effects of school environments on children's development, the social origins and functional significance of children's private speech, and the role of make-believe play in the development of self-regulation. Her books include Private Speech: From Social Interaction to Self-Regulation(Lawrence Erlbaum, 1992), Scaffolding Children's Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education(National Association for the Education Young Children, 2002), and Awakening Children's Minds: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference(Open University Press, 2004). She is co-author of A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool: Presenting the Evidence(Oxford University Press, 2008). She has also authored three university-level textbooks in human development: Infants, Children, and Adolescents(Pearson, 2012), and Development Through the Lifespan(Pearson, 2013). She is associate editor of the Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology and a fellow of the American Psychological Association.

    Milda Bredikyte has been a Senior Researcher and Lecturer at the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, Vilnius, since 2012. She teaches courses on child development and narrative learning in play and Vygotskian theory of cultural development in childhood. She is the senior researcher in the Research Laboratory of Play (LUES) and the coordinator of research activities in the research project ‘Development of Self-regulation in Play'. She was responsible for the organization of university courses and research activities at the research laboratory on children's play (Play Lab ‘Silmu') from 2002 to 2010 at Kajaani University Consortium, University of Oulu, Finland.

    Margaret Carr is a Professor of Education in the Early Years Research Centre at the University of Waikato's Faculty of Education, Hamilton, New Zealand. She was a co-director of a New Zealand national curriculum development project that developed the early childhood curriculum, Te Wh?riki, published in 1996, in which ‘play' is included as a goal. Formerly a kindergarten teacher, she has developed a strong research interest in early childhood pedagogy. Her research with practitioners has often included the role and development of Learning Stories, a narrative assessment practice that is the subject of her 2013 book, Learning Stories: Constructing Learner Identities in Early Education, written with Wendy Lee (Sage, 2012). Before she became a kindergarten teacher she was a potter, and working with clay strengthened her enthusiasm for play and playfulness in all walks of life.

    Daniel Thomas Cook is an Associate Professor of Childhood Studies and Sociology at Rutgers University, Camden, New Jersey. He examines the rise of children as consumers, presently and historically, exploring ways in which moral tensions between ‘the child' and ‘the market' play themselves out in various sites of children's consumer culture, such as advertising, food, rituals, clothing and media. Cook has written a number of articles and book chapters on consumer society, childhood, leisure and urban culture, including The Commodification of Childhood(Duke University Press, 2004). His edited books include: Children and Armed Conflict(2011, Palgrave Macmillan, co-edited with John Wall); Symbolic Childhood(2002); and The Lived Experiences of Public Consumption(2008). Cook continues to serve as a co-editor of Childhood: A Journal of Global Child Research. He is currently working on a book manuscript, The Moral Project of the Child Consumer, for New York University Press.

    Fabienne Doucet is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and an affiliated faculty member of the NYU Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, New York. Her research program addresses how immigrant and US-born children of colour and their families navigate education in the United States. A critical ethnographer, Doucet studies how taken-for-granted beliefs, practices, and values in the US educational system position children and families who are linguistically, culturally, and socioeconomically diverse at a disadvantage, and her work seeks active solutions for meeting their educational needs. Doucet has a PhD in human development and family studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

    Anne Haas Dyson is a former teacher of young children and, currently, a Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Among her previous appointments was a longtime professorship at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was a recipient of the campus Distinguished Teaching Award. A fellow of the American Educational Research Association, she has spent over 30 years studying the childhood cultures and literacy learning of young schoolchildren. Among her book publications are Social Worlds of Children Learning to Write in an Urban Primary School(Teachers College Press, 1993), Writing Superheroes(Teachers College Press, 1997), The Brothers and Sisters Learn to Write(Teachers College Press, 2003), and, with Celia Genishi, Children, Language, and Literacy: DiverseLearners in Diverse Times(Teachers College Press, 2009); most recently, she has published ReWRITING the Basics: Literacy Learning in Children's Cultures(Teachers College Press, 2013).

    Johanna Einarsdottir is a Professor of Early Childhood Education and Dean of the School of Education, University of Iceland. She has extensive experience in the field of early childhood education and early childhood teacher education. Her professional interests include continuity and transition in children's learning, children's well-being and learning in preschool, and research with children. She has been involved in several international research projects as a researcher and a consultant in her areas of expertise and published together with international colleagues. Recently she has been conducting research on children's views on their preschool education, and transition and continuity in early childhood education.

    Maria Evangelou is a Associate Professor in the Department of Education, University of Oxford. Her research has focused predominantly on the evaluation of early childhood interventions. She has a strong interest in the areas of parenting education and support, in language and literacy development in the early years and in mixed methods longitudinal designs. She has led many large studies evaluating parenting programmes, including the Birth to School Study (BTSS) and the Evaluation of the Early Learning Partnership Project (ELPP), and she is currently leading the Parenting strand of the National Evaluation of Children's Centres in England. She also undertook a systematic review on ‘hard-to-reach' families. During 2009 she led the literature review on children's cognitive and socio-emotional development that provided part of an evidence base which informed the review of the Early Years Foundation Stage in England.

    Suzanne Gaskins is a Professor Emerita at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, Illinois. (Department of Psychology, 1997–2012). She has done fieldwork in a traditional Yucatec Mayan village in Mexico since 1977, integrating psychological and ethnographic approaches to the study of children's everyday lives and their development. Her research is focused on cultural influences on development and learning in childhood, across a wide range of topics, including childhood learning in context, infant interactions with people and objects, the role of play and work in development across cultures, the developmental evidence for linguistic relativity beginning in middle childhood, and the influence of cultural change on socialization practices. She has co-authored two edited volumes (Play and Development, Psychology Press, 2007, and The Anthropology of Learning in Childhood, AltaMira Press) and written numerous articles and chapters on culture and development. She also studies cultural differences in families' informal learning activities in museums.

    Celia Genishi is a Professor Emerita of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, New York. She is a former secondary Spanish and preschool teacher and taught courses related to early childhood and qualitative research methods in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College. Her books include Ways of Assessing Children and Curriculum(Teachers College Press, 1992) Diversities in Early Childhood Education(with A. Lin Goodwin, Routledge, 2007); and Children, Language, and Literacy: Diverse Learners in Diverse Times(with Anne Haas Dyson, Teachers College Press, 2009). The author of many articles for researchers and practitioners, her research interests include collaborative research and assessment with teachers, childhood bilingualism, and children's language use, play, and early literacy in classrooms. She is a recipient of an Advocate for Justice Award from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the American Educational Research Association Special Interest Group on Critical Perspectives on Early Childhood Education.

    Susan Grieshaber is Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Early Childhood Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education (HKIEd). The Department has over 60 full-time staff members who provide most of the early childhood teacher education in Hong Kong. Before joining HKIEd, Sue was Professor of Early Years Education in the School of Early Childhood at Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. She co-edits the international journal Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood and is on the editorial board of several journals. Her current projects include a sociological study of how the compulsory Australian learning framework for children 0–5 years influences educators' practice, and an investigation of the professional networks of early childhood educators in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea.

    Pentti Hakkarainen is a Professor of Psychology at the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences, Vilnius, from 2012 and Professor (emeritus) at the University of Oulu, Finland. He is head of the Research Laboratory of Play (LUES) and the scientific leader of the research project Development of Self-regulation in Play. He teaches courses on qualitative research methods and cultural historical psychology for MA students. He is the editor of the Journal of Russian and East European Psychology(M.E. Sharpe, New York) and has taught early education, developmental teaching and research methodology.

    Linda J. Harrison is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at Charles Sturt University, Australia, and holds an Honorary Fellowship with the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. Her professional and research background is in developmental psychology and education. Her research focuses on infants', toddlers' and preschoolers' experiences of childcare/early education, quality in centre-based childcare, and children's socio-emotional, cognitive and speech-language development. Linda is particularly interested in the development of innovative methodologies for studying children's lives, experiences and perspectives as they move into and through early childhood settings and school. She has contributed to the development and design of the 16-year Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and the development and national trial of Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Her most recent book, Lived Spaces of Infant-Toddler Education and Care (co-edited with Jennifer Sumsion, Springer, 2014). She is an associate editor for the International Journal of Early Childhood.

    Helen Hedges is an Associate Professor and the Deputy Head: Research in the School of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, New Zealand. She teaches on graduate and postgraduate programmes, largely in early childhood education. Her research programme explores the interfaces of children's and teachers' interests, knowledge and learning and ways these connect in early childhood curriculum and pedagogy. She has published widely, including in the Journal of Curriculum Studies, Cambridge Journal of Education, Teachers and Teaching: Theory and Practice and Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood. She is the principal investigator of a Teaching and Learning Research Initiative ( that extends her research programme and investigates the notion of children's ‘working theories' in collaboration with teacher-researchers.

    Rachel Holmes has been a teacher for 19 years, working across the fields of Early Years, Key Stage 1, further and (more latterly) higher education. Her research interests lie across the interstices of applied educational research, social science research and arts-based research within cultures of childhood. Rachel is particularly interested in notions of ‘childhood territories' such as ways childhood becomes imag(in)ed through fictional, documentary and ethnographic film; children's child(self)hood, identities and objects and ways to (left)field childhood via opening up off-centre research methodologies. She works in the Educational and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, as a Reader within the Centre for Cultural Studies of Children and Childhood.

    James E. Johnson is a Professor of Education and Early Childhood Program Coordinator at the Pennsylvania State University. Before joining Penn State, he held positions in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Child and Family Studies faculty and as a postdoctoral fellow at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton. A past president of the Association for the Study of Play and former Fulbright Senior Researcher in Taiwan, he now serves as Series Editor for Play & Culture Studies and is co-editing two new volumes in progress: (1) International Perspectives on Children's Play and (2) Handbook of the Study of Play. He is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Play and is USA representative on the Scientific Committee of the International Council for Children's Play.

    Liz Jones is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. She has over 20 years' experience of teaching in both mainstream and special education. Her research interests include poststructuralist theory; feminist theory; social constructions and deconstructions of ‘the child' and ‘childhood'. More recently she has become interested in post humanism. Liz leads the Centre for the Cultural Studies of Children and Childhood, which is affiliated to the Educational and Social Research Institute.

    Margaret Kernan is a Senior Programme Manager in International Child Development Initiatives, in the Child Rights Home, Leiden, The Netherlands ( She has been working internationally in the field of early childhood care and education and primary education as a practitioner, researcher, trainer and consultant. Her specific interests include children's play indoors and outdoors, rights and diversity issues and policy and curriculum development in early childhood education and care. She is also interested in developing interdisciplinary approaches in researching issues affecting children's lives.

    Elena Kravtsova is the Director of the L.S. Vygotsky Institute of Psychology, where she is Head of the Projective Psychology Department. She is one of the authors of the ‘Golden Key', ‘Master' and ‘Opening' educational programmes for children of different psychological ages. Her work involves research into the problems of psychologists' and cultural-historical psychology specialists' training. Her research into the periodization of psychic and personal development, the zone of proximal development, and the developmental educational environment are a direct development of the traditions of the cultural-historical approach. She has published widely, in English as well as Russian, across these fields, and has given many international keynote presentations.

    Hillevi Lenz Taguchi is a Professor of Education and Child and Youth Studies at the Department of Child and Youth Studies, Stockholm University, Sweden. Her present research interests concern methodologies and research practices in material feminist, new empiricisms and postconstructionist research. Her most recent articles are published in Feminist Theory and International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education. Her most recently published book in English is Going Beyond the Theory/Practice Divide in Early Childhood Education: Introducing an Intra-Active Pedagogy(Routledge, 2010).

    Stuart Lester spent many years working on adventure playgrounds and community play projects in the north-west of England and is now Senior Lecturer in postgraduate Professional Studies in Children's Play and undergraduate Play and Playwork programmes at the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham. His current research interests centre on the nature and value of children's play, the everyday playful production of time/space and conditions under which playfulness thrives. Publications include Play, Naturally(with Martin Maudsley, National children's Bureau Enterprises, 2007), Play for a Change: Play, Policy and Practice: A Review of Contemporary Perspectives(National children's Bureau Enterprises, 2008) and Children's Right to Play: An Examination of the Importance of Play in the Lives of Children Worldwide(Bernard, van Leer Foundation 2010 both with Wendy Russell). He has also contributed numerous chapters and articles on children's play and playwork, the most recent of which are ‘Playing in a Deleuzian playground', in The Philosophy of Play, C. Ryall, W. Russell and M. MacLean (eds, Routledge, 2013), and ‘Rethinking children's participation in democratic processes: a right to play, in Sociological Studies of children and Youth: Volume 16 Youth Engagement 2013.

    Annica Löfdahl is a Professor in Educational Work at Karlstad University (KAU), Sweden. She has a background as a preschool teacher and is engaged in the teacher education program at KAU, mainly focusing on education for the youngest children. Besides this, she is chair of the local ethical committee at KAU and has served as a member of the faculty board for several years. Her research interest is in children's play, peer cultures and social relations among preschool children. Currently she is interested in how the preschool teacher's profession is changing within increasing demands for documentation as well as how teachers working in afterschool settings handle the new demands for quality and assessments in Swedish schools.

    Jackie Marsh is a Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, where she conducts research on young children's digital literacy practices in homes, communities and Early Years settings. Her most recent publications include Changing Play: Play, Media and Commercial Culture from the 1950s to the Present Day(with Julia Bishop, Open University Press 2014) and Handbook of Early Childhood Literacy(edited with Nigel Hall Larson, and Joanne, Sage, 2013). Jackie is an editor of the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy.

    Felicity McArdle is an Associate Professor at Charles Stuart University and an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. She is particularly interested in the early years' curriculum, the arts, and teachers' work. She has conducted research enquiries into how teachers teach and the ironies within the discursive fields that shape their decisions and actions. She has an interest in the affordances of the arts as a way of knowing, and how diversity issues can be addressed through the arts as pedagogy, language, learning and research.

    Adena B. Meyers, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology and member of the school psychology graduate program faculty at Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois. She received her doctorate in clinical community psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is a licensed clinical psychologist. She is interested in contextual influences on child and adolescent development, with an emphasis on family-, school-, and community-based interventions designed to promote children's social and emotional functioning. She has served as a consultant to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), and as a supervisor of mental health consultants in Head Start preschool settings. Her publications have focused on school-based consultation and on adolescent pregnancy, parenthood, and sexual development. Her current work involves evaluation research related to school-based preventive interventions.

    Kaitlin Northey-Berg is a doctoral student studying early childhood in the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. She has been an art educator in K-12 settings and more recently an early childhood teacher working with children from birth to the age of five. Her research interests include examining the impact of public policy from the perspectives of teachers and children.

    Bert van Oers is a Professor in Cultural-Historical Theory of Education in the Research and Theory of Education Department at the VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands. In 2004 he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland. His research approach is based on cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT) and his main research interest is play as a context for learning (mathematics, literacy, music). He was one of the founders of the Dutch play-based curriculum Developmental Education for primary school. In addition to his publications in Dutch, he has published many articles and book chapters in English. The main book titles are: Developmental Education for Young Children(Springer, 2012), Narratives of Childhood(VU University Press, 2003) and a co-edited book, The Transformation of Learning: Advances in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory(Cambridge University Press, 2008). He is a member of a number of the editorial boards of English and Russian journals on early childhood education.

    Veronica Pacini-Ketchabaw is a Professor of Childhood Studies in the School of Child and Youth Care at the University of Victoria in Canada, where she is also the Coordinator of the Early Years Specialization. She has worked professionally in the field of early childhood education for over 20 years. Her work focuses on rethinking and reimagining early childhood education from theoretically and philosophically informed standpoints rooted in feminist, postcolonial, anti-racist and posthumanist perspectives. Her current writing project engages with posthumanist and Indigenous ontological perspectives grounded in relationalities to create possibilities for anti-colonial pedagogies. She is editor of Flows, Rhythms and Intensities of Early Childhood Education Curriculum(Peter Lang, 2010) and co-editor of Re-situating Canadian Early Childhood Education(Peter Lang, 2013) and the Canadian Children Journal. Her articles have been published in Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, Gender and Education, and Child and Youth Services, among other journals.

    Rod Parker-Rees is an Associate Professor (Senior Lecturer) of early childhood studies at Plymouth University, UK. He was a nursery and reception class teacher before joining Plymouth University where he has helped to develop several early childhood studies programmes at undergraduate and masters level. He has particular interests in playfulness (in adulthood as well as in childhood), early (preverbal) communication, the history of childhood and informal learning at university. He has written numerous chapters and articles and has edited Meeting the Child in Steiner Kindergartens: An Exploration of Beliefs, Values and Practices(Routledge, 2011) and co-edited Early Years Education: Major Themes in Education(Routledge, 2005), and Early Childhood Studies: An Introduction to the Study of Children's Worlds and Children's Lives(Learning Matter, 2010). He is a co-editor of the journal Early Years: An International Research Journal.

    Amy Noelle Parks is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Georgia, USA. She is interested in equity issues in early childhood, particularly when they intersect with mathematics education. Her published work has drawn on long-term ethnographic studies as well as textual analysis. She recently completed a multi-year study following a cohort of children as they moved from prekindergarten to Grade 1 in a rural school. She is currently writing a book for teachers about mathematics and play.

    Lydia Plowman is the Chair in Education and Technology in the Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh. She has more than 20 years' experience of conducting research with children and technologies and is interested in the ways in which digital media are integrated into family life and used for leisure, work and educational purposes in the home. She has led or co-directed eight projects funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and conducted research or consultancy for the Scottish Government, the English Department for Education, the BBC and companies at the leading edge of technological innovation for children's media. A member of the National Toy Council, she is also Vice-Chair of the ESRC panel for Education, Linguistics and Psychology and a member of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) Strategic Advisory Network, with an interest in social, cultural and ethical issues.

    Niklas Pramling is a Professor of Education at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. He works as a supervisor in several graduate schools for preschool teachers. His research interests include how preschool teachers and children communicate about various phenomena. In particular, he is interested in such communication in the context of aesthetic domains such as music and the literary arts. Another interest he is currently pursuing is how children, with and without adults such as preschool teachers, engage with new technologies for making music and stories.

    Ingrid Pramling Samuelsson is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Her main research field is young children's learning and curriculum questions in early years education. Her many research studies of children's learning and play in the preschool context have led to the development of a didactic approach, labelled developmental pedagogy. One of her most popular books is The Playing Learning Child(originally in Swedish, but also translated into German), which is based on the idea that children are playing–learning individuals, so preschool didactics should integrate play and learning. Her latest research is about children's possibilities to learn depending on the number of children in the group. She holds a UNESCO Chair in ECE and Sustainable Development and is the World President of the Organisation Mondiale pour l'Èducation Présolaire (OMEP).

    Stuart Reifel is a Professor Emeritus of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Texas at Austin, Texas where he served as adviser for graduate studies in early childhood education. His scholarly work addresses classroom play and teacher preparation, with research appearing in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, Journal of Research in Childhood Education, Young Children, Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, and other journals and edited books. He served as series editor for Advances in Early Education and Day Care(Elsevier Science) and Play and Culture Studies(Ablex), and has served on editorial boards for a number of journals. A co-author of Play and Child Development, now in its fourth edition (Pearson, 2011), he has lectured internationally on classroom play. He was presented with the 2014 Distinguished Career Award by the American Educational Research Association Early Education/Child Development Special Interest Group.

    Wendy Russell is a Senior Lecturer in play and playwork at the University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham and a consultant on children's play and playwork. She has worked in the UK play and playwork sector for over 35 years, first as a playworker on adventure playgrounds, then in development, research, and education and training. Her freelance work has included strategic development, evaluation and research projects for the public, private and voluntary sectors at local, national and international level. Recent publications include The Philosophy of Play(Routledge, 2013), co-edited with Emily Ryall and Malcolm MacLean, and Children's Right to Play(Bernard Van Leer Foundation, 2010) and Play for a Change(National Children Bureau Enterprise 2008), both co-authored with Stuart Lester. She is on the editorial board of the International Journal of Play.

    Sharon Ryan is a Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Graduate School of Education and a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Early Education Research, at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. Prior to moving to the United States, she worked in the early childhood field as a preschool teacher, curriculum adviser and special educator in Australia. Dr Ryan uses a range of mixed methods designs to research early childhood curriculum and policy, teacher education and the potential of critical theories for rethinking early childhood practices. She has written a number of articles and chapters on these topics.

    Sue Saltmarsh is an Associate Professor of Educational Studies at the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia. Sue's research interests are broadly interdisciplinary, and her work is informed by poststructuralist theories of power, subjectivity and everyday life. She has undertaken a range of ethnographic, social semiotic and discourse analytic studies across early childhood, primary, secondary and tertiary educational settings, focusing primarily on the connections between economic discourse, cultural practices and subjectivities. Sue serves on the National Executive Committee of the Australian Association of Research in Education, and is Executive Director of the Asia-Pacific Education Research Association, and International Advisor to the Centre for Childhood Research and Innovation at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. She is a founding editor of the journal Global Studies of Childhood, and reviews editor for The Australian Educational Researcher.

    Christine Stephen is a Research Fellow in the School of Education, University of Stirling, Scotland. The focus of her research and writing is children's learning in the early years and the ways in which this is supported in preschool settings and at home. She has co-directed three Economic and Social Research Council-funded projects, which have examined young children's learning with technologies at home and in preschool, and led a number of studies examining the experiences of children as they move from preschool to Primary 1. Her interest in pedagogy includes studying the challenges of learning in Gaelic-immersion preschool settings and the learning opportunities offered to children younger than three years old.

    Jennifer Sumsion is the Foundation Professor of Early Childhood Education at Charles Sturt University, Australia and Co-director of the Australian Government-funded Excellence in Research in Early Years Education Collaborative Research Network. In 2008–2009, she co-led a national consortium of academics, service providers and practitioners to develop Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, Australia's first national curriculum for children aged from birth to five years. She currently leads two Australian Research Council (ARC)-funded projects. One project is investigating early childhood educators' practices with respect to play-based learning. The second is exploring how a sense of belonging can be fostered in early childhood settings, especially for babies and their families in marginalised communities. Her recently completed ARC project with CSU colleagues focused on infants' lived experience of early childhood settings.

    Michelle Tannock is a Lecturer of Early Childhood Education at Thompson Rivers University British Columbia, Canada. She has held posts as a Visiting Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and as an Associate Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has coordinated a series of studies examining the role of rough and tumble play in early childhood settings, the results of which have formed the basis for numerous publications and presentations. In addition to continued research on young children's rough and tumble play, her current projects include exploration of the form and use of kindness by young children and the effects of guided mentoring on educator practice.

    Anita A. Wager is an Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin. Her research focus is on broadening notions of teaching mathematics for understanding by incorporating the cultural and socio-political contexts in which children live and learn. She is particularly interested in professional development that supports teachers as they draw on the rich mathematical resources from children's homes and communities to develop equitable mathematics pedagogy. Her current project is a study of a professional development for culturally relevant and developmentally responsive teaching and learning in preK mathematics.

    Mary Wild is Head of the School of Education at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford. Her research interests include early childhood literacy, children's thinking and the use of ICT to support learning. During 2009 she was an author on the literature review on children's cognitive and socio-emotional development that provided part of the evidence-base which informed the review of the Early Years Foundation Stage in England. Mary is a member of the British Psychological Society and the British Educational Research Association (BERA). She is a Secretary to the Early Childhood Studies Degree Network in the UK and a member of its National Strategy Group.

    Elizabeth Wood is a Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield, UK. She has worked on a number of collaborative research projects with teachers in early years, primary and secondary schools, based on participatory action research. Her research on play has been influential on national policy documents for early childhood education in several countries. She has authored books and articles based on her research interests in play, young children's learning, early childhood pedagogy and curriculum, equity and equality, and comparative policy analysis and critique.


    We wish to thank the editorial and production staff at SAGE Publications for their contribution to this work. In particular, we gratefully acknowledge the support and guidance received from Jude Bowen, Miriam Davey and Amy Jarrold in bringing the handbook to completion. We also wish to thank all our chapter authors, who have patiently answered our repeated queries and have revised their work in response to reviewer and editor comments.

    Editors' Note on Terminology

    In this handbook we acknowledge authors' preferred use of terminology and have not sought consistency of terms across all chapters. However, an author's choice of terms for certain categories can be construed as having political implications. We draw attention to the following categories here to clarify meanings.

    • In writing about young children and their caregivers and educators in a sex- and gender-neutral way, it is almost impossible to avoid the constant repetition of clumsy ‘he/she', ‘his or her', ‘s/he' constructions. Some authors, in reaction to psychology's traditional use of ‘he', have preferred to adopt the convention of writing ‘she' for ‘the child'. Others, when writing about children's relationships with mothers and female educators, have preferred to use ‘he' (the child) to avoid confusion with ‘she' (the adult) where the caregiver is female. All authors have shown awareness of this difficulty and we have on the whole left their choices intact.
    • Some authors wished to make a specific statement about their use of ‘race' as a socially constructed category to avoid the implication that it is a biological phenomenon. We have followed authors' preferences as to whether or not to ‘quote' this term, but can confirm that in all cases (even when unquoted) it is understood by authors as a social and political construction.
    • Most authors have included some discussion of the different beliefs, practices and experiences found in different regions of the world. There are many ways to refer to these global divisions. Chosen terms include: Minority/Majority worlds; developing and developed worlds; Global North/Global South; Euro-American, Euro-Western, Western-heritage, industrialized, postindustrial and/or affluent. We have in almost every instance left these terms unchanged on the understanding that authors, whatever their preferred usage, are fully aware of global inequalities.

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