ECA Statement on Play


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Australian and international statements and guidelines

Australian Government, Australian Early Development Census,

Australian Government, Department of Education, Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia, retrieved from on 19 July 2022.

Australian Government, Department of Education (2019) The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration, retrieved from 12 July 2022.

Australian Government, Department of Health (2021) Australian 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Young People retrieved from:

Australian Government Department of Health (2017) Australian 24-hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years.

First Nations National Constitutional Convention (2017) The Uluru Statement from the Heart, Central Land Council Library, retrieved from, 1 July 2022.

Lester, S. and Russell, W. (2010) Children’s right to play: An examination of the importance of play in the lives of children worldwide. Working Paper No. 57. The Hague, The Netherlands: Bernard van Leer Foundation

Inspiring Scotland, Scotland’s National Position Statement: Outdoor Play and Learning, accessed 5 July 2022,

International Play Association World (2015). IPA Position Statement on the Play Rights of Children with Disabilities.

Play Types Toolkit—

Scottish Government, (2013), Play Strategy for Scotland,, accessed 8 July 2022

UNICEF-Lego Foundation, (2018) Learning through play Strengthening learning through play in early childhood education programmes

United Nations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, retrieved from, 27 June 2022.

UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, (2013) General comment No. 17 on the right of the child to rest, leisure, play, recreational activities, cultural life and the arts (art. 31)

UN Summary on General Comment No 17

Victoria Government, Department of Education and Training, Play Learn Grow—text message program, retrieved 19 July 2022 at

World Health Organization (‎2018)‎. Global action plan on physical activity 2018–2030: more active people for a healthier world. World Health Organization.

World Health Organization (2021). Standards for healthy eating, physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in early childhood education and care settings: a toolkit. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021. Licence: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 IGO


Early Childhood Australia resources and links

Be You —
Look for Be You factsheets and modules such as:
—Emotional and social learning:

—Children’s risky play and mental health benefits:

Early Childhood Australia, (2015), Code of Ethics, retrieved July 2022 from

Early Childhood Australia Statements and position papers

Statement on Young Children and Digital Technologies (2018) Early Childhood Australia Statement on young children and digital technologies – Early Childhood Australia

Statement on the inclusion of children in early childhood education and care Statement-of-Inclusion_updated-2022-with-publishing-date.pdf (

Working Together to ensure equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the early years, (2019) Working Together to Ensure Equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children in the Early Years – Early Childhood Australia

ECA’s Australian Journal of Early Childhood Australasian Journal of Early Childhood – Early Childhood Australia

  • [List 14 articles since 2017 with play as key word]

ECA Learning Hub

Early Childhood Australia The Spoke—find blogs on play at


Find inclusion and cultural practice resources

Early Childhood Australia Inclusion in Early Childhood Professional Learning Bundle —A collection of learning modules, ECA publications and inclusion statements, curated by ECA, to support educators build knowledge and contemporary practices around inclusion in the early years available at

Edwards, K., (with assistance from Troy Meston), Yulunga Traditional Indigenous Games Sports Australia, retrieved from on 18 July 2022.

First Nations National Constitutional Convention (2017) The Uluru Statement from the Heart, Central Land Council Library, retrieved from, 1 July 2022.

Gill, T. (2021) Urban Playground: How Child-Friendly Planning and Design Can Save Cities, Riba, Paperback.—resources on young children, language and language delay

Scarlet, R. R. (Ed), (2016) The Anti-Bias Approach in Early Childhood (3rd ed), Multiverse.

SNAICC-ECA Position Paper (2019) Working Together to ensure equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in the early years,

Staines, J. & Scarlet, R. R., (2018), The Aboriginal Early Childhood practice guide, Multiverse.


Explore websites on play and young children—resources on young children, language, literacy and language delay

Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child,, retrieved April 2022

International Play Association.
Access to play in crisis tool kit and resources

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute—

Play Australia—

Play Things—Loose Parts Guide,

Play Types Toolkit

Play Wales

Play Matters—

Playgroup Australia—

Raising Children Network

Telethon Kids Institute

Thrive by Five TED Talk,

Yulunga Traditional Indigenous Games, Sports Australia,


Explore practitioner handbooks on play

Dolci, M., Malaguzzi, L, & Spaggiari, S, (1999), Everything has a shadow except ants, Reggio Children.

Ebbeck, M. & Waniganayake, M. (Eds.), (2016). Play in early childhood education: learning in diverse contexts Oxford University Press.

Edwards, C. Gandini, L., and Forman, G. (Eds) The Hundred Languages of Children

The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation.

Hughes, F., Elliot S, Anderson, K & Chancellor, B., (2021), Early Years Learning in Australian Natural Environments, Oxford University Press ANZ.

Milikan, J. (2003). Reflections: Reggio Emilia Principles within Australian contexts, Padmelon Press Australia.

Rinaldi, C., (2021) In Dialogue with Reggio Emilia: Listening, Researching and Learning, Second edition, Routledge.

Robinson, C, Treasure, T., O’Connor, D., Neylon, G., Harrison,, C. & Samantha Wynne, (2018) Learning Through Play: Creating a Play Based Approach within Early Childhood Contexts, Oxford University Press.

Scarlet, R. R. (Ed), (2016) The Anti-Bias Approach in Early Childhood (3rd ed), Multiverse.

Staines, J. & Scarlet, R. R., (2018), The Aboriginal Early Childhood practice guide, Multiverse.

Sturloni, S. and Vecchi, V. (Eds) Everything has a shadow, except ants: A project between play, imagination and science.With texts by Mariano Dolci, Loris Malaguzzi and Sergio Spaggiari. The experiences and emotions of children, in the Diana and Gulliver municipal preschools in Reggio Emilia, at work with shadow as immaterial life-companion, generative of discoveries and knowledge.

Vecchi, V. (2010) Art and Creativity in Reggio Emilia: Exploring the Role and Potential of Ateliers in Early Childhood Education, Routledge.

Warden, C., (2015). Learning with Nature: Embedding Outdoor Practice, Pademelon Press.

Weitzman, E. & Greenberg, J. (2002) Learning Language and Loving It: A guide to promoting children’s social, language, and literacy development in early childhood settings, cited in Lowry, L. The Land of Make Believe: How and why to encourage pretend play, at The Hanen Centre.

Wilson, P. (2010). The Playwork Primer. New Jersey: Alliance for Childhood.


Dive into play research and play theories

Alderton, A., Villanueva, K., O’Connor, M., Boulangé, C. & Badland, H., (2019), ‘Reducing Inequities in Early Childhood Mental Health: How Might the Neighborhood Built Environment Help Close the Gap? A Systematic Search and Critical Review’, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health Review 16, 1516; doi:10.3390/ijerph16091516.

Andrée, M., and Lager-Nyqvist, L. 2013. “Spontaneous Play and Imagination in Everyday Science Classroom Practice.” Research in Science Education 43 (5): 1735–1750.

Bailey R. (2002). Playing social chess: Children’s play and social intelligence. Early Years, 22: 163–173

Bekoff, M. and Byers, J.  (Eds) Animal Play. Evolutionary, Comparative and EthologicalPerspectives. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, S. & Vaughan, C. (2009) Play How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, Avery.

Colliver, Y. (2012). ‘The five debates. Simplifying the contemporary play literature’. Folio, 16(1), 15-21.

Cutter-Mackenzie, A., Edwards, S., Moore, D., & Boyd, W. (2014). Young children’s play and environmental education in early childhood education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Dinham, J., & Chalk, B. (2018). It’s arts play: Young children belonging, being and becoming through the arts. Sydney, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Edwards, C., Gandini, L. & Forman, G. (Eds) (2012), The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation, 3rd Edition, Praeger.

Edwards, S. (2017), ‘Play-based learning and intentional teaching: Forever different?’, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, Volume 42 Number 2 June.

Edwards, S., & Cutter-Mackenzie, A. (2013). ‘Pedagogical play-types: What do they suggest for learning about sustainability in early childhood education?’ International Journal of Early Childhood, 43(3), 327–346.

Fleer, M. (2019). ‘Scientific Playworlds: A Model of Teaching Science in Play-Based Settings’, Research in Science Education 49 (5): 1257–1278.

Fleer, M. (2016). Play in the early years (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press

Gascoyne, S. (2017) ‘Patterns and attributes in vulnerable children’s messy play’, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 25:2, 272-291, doi:10.1080/1350293X.2017.1288019

Gill, T., (2007). No Fear: Growing up in a risk averse society. London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Ginsburg, H. P., Inoue, N. & Seo, K. H. (1999). Young children doing mathematics: Observations of everyday activities. In J. Copely (Ed.). Mathematics in the early years (pp.88-99). Reston, VA. National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Golinkoff, R. M., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2016). Becoming Brilliant: What science tells us about raising successful children. APA Press: Washington, DC.

Göncü, A., Mistry, J., & Mosier, C. (2000). ‘Cultural variations in the play of toddlers.’ International Journal of Behavioral Development, 24 , 321– 329.

Halberstadt, A. G., Denham, S. A., & Dunsmore, J. C. (2001). Affective social competence. Social development, 10(1), 79-119.

Hartup, W. W. (1992). ‘Having friends, making friends, and keeping friends: Relationships as educational contexts.’ ERIC Digest ED345854. Retrieved from

Howes, C., & Matheson, C. (1992). Sequences in the development of competent play with peers: Social pretend play. Developmental Psychology, 28, 961– 974.

Gray, P. (2013). Free to learn: Why unleashing the instinct to play will make our children happier, more self-reliant, and better students for life. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Hughes, F.P. (2009). Children, play and development. 4th edn. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

Hughes, B. (2011) Evolutionary Playwork Routledge

Hutt, C. (1979) Play in the Under-fives: Form, development and function. Unpublished manuscript.

Jackson-Barrett, E. M., & Lee-Hammond, L. (2018). Strengthening Identities and Involvement of Aboriginal Children through Learning On Country. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 43(6 ).

Jones, E., & Reynolds, G. (2011). The play’s the thing: Teachers’ roles in children’s play (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Katz, L. G., & McClellan, D. E. (1997). Fostering children’s social competence: The teacher’s role. National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Kennedy, A. (2017) Children’s Rights: Every Day and everywhere, Book 1 ELS, Vol 15 No 3

Lee-Hammond, L., & Jackson-Barrett, E., (2018). On Country Learning: Promoting Remote Australian Aboriginal Children’s Wellbeing and Creativity. Progress report prepared for the Froebel Trust February, Murdoch University, Western Australia. Accessed June 2022 at

Little, H. (2017). ‘Promoting risk-taking and physically challenging play in Australian early childhood settings in a changing regulatory environment.’ Journal of Early Childhood Research, 15(1), 83–98.

Livshits, H. (2019). Sociodramatic Pretend Play: A vehicle to emotional self-regulation, language learning and school success, The Hanen Centre, retrieved on 20 July 2022 from

Lohoar, S., Butera, N., & Kennedy, E. (2014) Strengths of Australian Aboriginal cultural practices in family life and child rearing, AIFS Policy & Practice Paper.

Lovegrove Lepisto, B., (2019) Play as communication in Charles, M. & Bellinson, J. (Eds). The importance of play in early childhood education: psychoanalytic, attachment, and developmental perspectives. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

McArdle P. (2001). Children’s play. Child: Care, Health and Development, 27:509–514

McArdle, F. Grieshaber, S. & Sumsion, J., (2018) ‘Play meets early childhood teacher education’ in The Australian Educational Researcher, The Australian Association for Research in Education, Inc.

Monash University, Fleer’s Conceptual Playworld, retrieved from, 19 July 2022.

Piaget, J. (1962). Play, dreams, and imitation in childhood. New York: Norton.

Pyle, A. and Danniels, E. (2016) A Continuum of Play-Based Learning: The Role of the Teacher in Play-Based Pedagogy and the Fear of Hijacking Play. Early Education and Development, 28(3), 274-289.

Pyle, A., Pyle, M. A., Prioletta, J., & Alaca, B. (2020). Portrayals of Play-Based Learning: Misalignments among Public Discourse, Classroom Realities, and Research. American Journal of Play, 13(1), 53-86.

Reifel, S., & Yeatman, J. (1993). From category to context: Considering classroom play. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 8, 347– 367.

Robinson, C. (Christine E., Treasure, T., O’Connor, D., Neylon, G., Harrison, C., & Wynne, S. (2018). Learning through play : creating a play-based approach within early childhood contexts. Oxford University Press.

Rune, S. & Hansen Sandseter, E.B. (2017) Gender matters: male and female ECEC practitioners’ perceptions and practices regarding children’s rough-and-tumble play (R&T), European Early Childhood Education Research Journal 25:6, 838-853, DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2017.1380881.

Sahlberg, P. (2021). ‘Let the Children Play’. Blog originally published 11 March 2021 on Global Access Partners’ Open Forum,

Sandseter, E. (2009) Characteristics of risky play. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning 9(1): 3–21. DOI: 10.1080/14729670802702762.

Sturloni, S. and Vecchi, V. (Eds) (DATEXX) Everything has a shadow, except ants. A project between play, imagination and science. With texts by Mariano Dolci, Loris Malaguzzi and Sergio Spaggiari.

Sylva, K., Melhuish, E., Sammons, P., Siraj-Blatchford, I., & Taggart, B. (2004). The Effective Provision of Pre-School Education (EPPE) Project: Findings from Pre-school to end of Key Stage1. Retrieved 30 June 2022, from

Smith, P. K., and Pellegrini, A. (2013). Learning through Play. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. Available at:

Tait, J.L., Collyer, T. A, Gall, S.L., Magnussen, C.G., Venn, A.J., Dwyer, T., Fraser, B. J., Moran, C., Srikanth, V. K., Callisaya, M.L., (2022). ‘Longitudinal associations of childhood fitness and obesity profiles with midlife cognitive function: an Australian cohort study’ in Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 2022; DOI:

Trawick-Smith, J. (2010). Drawing back the lens on play: A frame analysis of young children’s play in Puerto Rico. Early Education and Development, 21, 1– 32.

Trawick-Smith, J. (2012). Teacher-child play interactions to achieve learning outcomes – Risks and opportunities. In R. C. Pianta, W. S. Barnett, L. M. Justice, & S. M. Sheridan (Eds.), Handbook of early childhood education. USA: Giuldford Publications.

Vartiainen, J. & Kumpulainen, K. (2020) Playing with science: manifestation of scientific play in early science inquiry, European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 28:4, 490-503, DOI: 10.1080/1350293X.2020.1783924

Villanueva, K., Badland, H., Kvalsvig, A., O’Connor, M., Christian, H., Woolcock, G. Giles-Corti, B., Goldfeld, S. (2016). ‘Can the Neighborhood Built Environment Make a Difference in Children’s Development? Building the Research Agenda to Create Evidence for Place-Based Children’s Policy’, Academic Pediatrics, volume 16, Issue 1, January–February 2016, 10-19.

Vygotsky, L. (1966). ‘Play and its role in the mental development of the child’ First publication (1966) in Problems of psychology], 12(6), 62–76. Translated by Nikolai Veresov (Australia) & Myra Barrs (United Kingdom) in 2015, published in International Research in Early Childhood Education 3 Vol. 7, No. 2, 2016.

White, M., Alcock, I., Grellier, J., Wheeler, B., Hartig, T., Warber, S., Bone, A., Depledge, M. & Fleming, L., (2019) ‘Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with

good health and wellbeing’, Scientific Reports, retrieved from July 2021.

Zigler, E & Bishop-Josef, S., (2009) “Play under siege. A historical perspective” in Zero to Three, 30, no 1 (pp 4-11) National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families, Washington DC

Zosh, J., Hopkins, E., Jensen, H., Liu, C., Neale, D., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Solis, L. & Whitebread, D. (2017a) Learning through play: a review of the evidence, White Paper, November 2017, Lego Foundation.

Zosh, J. M, Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., and Dore, R. A. (2017b). Where learning meets creativity: The promise of guided play, in R. Beghetto and B. Sriraman (Eds.) Creative Contradictions in Education: Cross Disciplinary Paradoxes and Perspectives,  New York, NY: Springer International Publishing, pp.165–180. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-21924-0_10.

Zosh, J. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Hopkins, E. J., Jensen, H., Liu, C., Neale, D., Solis, S.L., & Whitebread, D. (2018). Accessing the inaccessible: Redefining play as a spectrum. Frontiers in psychology, 9, 1124. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01124.

If you have a perspective or example of play that you would like to share, consider making a submission to The Spoke—ECA’s blog or Every Child magazine.