Pushing play in primary: findings from three case study classes

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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
Number of pages8
JournalSERA Research Education Bulletin
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 6 Oct 2020


  • play
  • early primary settings
  • changing pedagogy

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