Exploring the pedagogic culture of creative play in early childhood education

Pauline Duncan, Lorna Arnott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We present a conceptual analysis, grounded in empirical data, of how young children’s creative play is framed by the ‘pedagogic culture’ within which the child is playing. Drawing on data from a research study with the broad aim of documenting children’s creative play in Western play-based early childhood education, we gathered exploratory qualitative observations, self-initiated iPad video diaries and researcher-led activities to describe children’s creative play. Data about children’s creative play are coded by adapting the Analysing Children’s Creative Thinking Framework and analysed according to three contexts - Space, Material and Collaborative. We ground our discussion in theoretical perspectives of materiality and space, and educational discussions of cultures. Our findings revealed that in isolation, each context presents a degree of framing to children’s creative play, however, when analysed as a synergy of contexts, we begin to see that the dynamic make-up of each of the contexts, and the interplay amongst them, creates a ‘pedagogic culture’ which transforms, and is transformed by, children’s creative play. We suggest that children’s creative play cannot be understood, observed or fostered in isolation. We present ‘stories’ of each pedagogic culture to describe how children’s creative play manifested within each culture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
Early online date23 Aug 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Aug 2019

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • early childhood
  • creativity
  • play
  • culture
  • toys
  • materiality


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