Pushing play in primary: findings from three case study classes

Lorna Arnott, Christie Lamb, Kayleigh Milligan, Nicola Connor, Deirdre Grogan

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This paper explores the practicalities of implementing play-based pedagogy in early primary. Using a practitioner enquiry paradigm, data were collected during M.Ed research projects in three primary schools and presented via case study methodology. A multi-method approach was adopted, including interviews with practitioners, observations and pedagogically-designed consultation with children. The paper presents four findings: 1 Play in primary was heterogenous and context specific; 2.Teachers had considerable sway over the place of play
in the classroom; 3. Children appeared engaged when they were leading their learning and playing, making the need for more play-based opportunities fundamental. 4. Lack of confidence, training, resourcing and the need to 'cover' the curriculum were apparent barriers to play pedagogy in Primary.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-50
Number of pages7
JournalSERA Research Education Bulletin
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2020


  • play
  • early primary settings
  • changing pedagogy


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