Practitioner-enquiry: a reflexive method for playful pedagogy

Kate Wall, Lorna Arnott, Elaine Hall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In this chapter we are going to explore the productive learning associations we see between a practitioner enquiry approach to professional learning and playful pedagogy in the early years. In doing so we hope to show a complementary and facilitatory relationship that is evident in learning, tools and techniques used for research and dispositions that result for children and practitioners as researchers or participants in research projects. We will make clear the underlying assumptions of practitioner enquiry and what the implications of engaging in enquiry are in regards to an orientation towards play. Using real-life examples from early years settings to exemplify the discussion and ground this approach in practice, we will give guidance about the use of enquiry-based tools which have often been used to support professional learning. In particular, we will focus on the ways in which early childhood practices can support an approach to research that facilitates meaning and interpretation of data in playful spaces for learning. The basic premise behind this perspective is that practitioners in early childhood settings are already skilled researchers, unearthing and interpreting the intricacies in children’s play. This chapter suggests that it is important to harness those skills in order to explore children’s perspectives through play.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Through Play
Subtitle of host publicationParticipatory Methods in Early Childhood
EditorsLorna Arnott, Kate Wall
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)9781526493552
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2021


  • playing
  • pedagogy
  • research through play


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