6-2 | Play in the Early Years

Book Review

Play in the Early Years

Marilyn Fleer
New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013. References, vignettes, photographs, glossary, indices. 261 pp. $94.00 paper. ISBN: 9781107640221

by Olivia N. Saracho

First Paragraph:

In Play in the Early Years, Marilyn Fleer communicates the importance of play in young children’s early education and development. Focusing primarily on the role of play in the Australian government’s Early Years Learning Framework (a curriculum for children from birth to age five), she uses a variety of theoretical perspectives to develop a schema to help the reader understand children’s play. Her schema considers the setting (such as school, home, playground) in which play takes place and the nature of play. She encourages readers to reflect on their own personal memories, perspectives, and expectations of play to become aware of the value of children’s play. Fleer also describes a systematic analysis of teaching based on children’s play in early-childhood education. She demonstrates the ways in which others have understood play in different eras, cultures, and early-childhood education settings (such as child care, family child care, schools, and community groups). The book discusses a wide range of topics, including perspectives on play from different individuals such as infants, children, teachers, families, communities, classrooms, and various early-childhood settings; different theories of play including classical, developmental, and post-developmental; integrating play into the early-childhood education curriculum; promoting children’s play development; using cultural technologies in children’s play; using play for assessment purposes; and advocating for play.