Dr Nicola Birdsey and Dr Karen McInnes to deliver keynote speech at Malmo conference

February 24, 2015

Drs Nicola Birdsey and Karen McInnes are to deliver the key note lecture at an international conference on play and education in Malmo, Sweden on August 21.

The lecture will be a comparison of teachers’ and children’s perceptions of play and the implications for early years classroom practice


Play is renowned as a difficult and complex concept to define and there are theorists who state that defining it is impossible (Moyles, 1989). Adult attempts to define play has been by: category (e.g. Piaget, 1951), criteria (e.g. Rubin, Fein, & Vandenberg, 1983) and type (e.g. Hughes, 2006). There have also been attempts to define play according to children’s perspectives of play (e.g. Keating, Fabian, Jordan, Mavers, & Roberts, 2000; Wing, 1995). However, many of the studies looking at children’s perceptions of play have utilised methodologies which have not always been appropriate, especially for very young children, such as interview methodology. The Activity Apperception Story Procedure (AASP) (Howard, 2002) is a child-friendly, experimental procedure which has been used to elicit children’s perceptions of play. Studies which have utilised children’s perceptions of play according to results from the AASP have demonstrated a significant positive impact of playful practice on children’s learning. Therefore, it is imperative that practitioners understand children’s definitions of play and how it differs from their own to ensure best practice. Comparison of adults’ and children’s definitions of play have highlighted some similarities and differences however due to a lack of comparability in methodology this has not be researched extensively. This study utilised the same methodology, the AASP, with a sample of 80 children aged 4-7 years and 14 teachers across three Welsh schools to provide a clear comparison of children’s and teachers’ perceptions of play.

You can find more details on the conference here.

Tagged: Child development