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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2011 Undergraduate, Postgraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.

LevelUndergraduate, Postgraduate
FacultyFaculty of Education
OfferedSingapore Term 2 2011 (Off-campus)
Peninsula Second semester 2011 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Dr Avis Ridgway


Play has been traditionally viewed as an important pedagogical approach for early childhood education in most European heritage communities. However, in recent years broader and different and more culturally inclusive research has been undertaken to show how play is culturally constructed. In this unit, students will examine research which calls into question the taken for granted theories of play that have informed the work of early childhood professionals and be provided with new and different contexts to think about in relation to how play is defined and theorized. In addition, students will consider the cultural ways in which children in contemporary society play and live in their communities. Importantly, students will undertake an analysis of the contemporary theories of play, noting the research upon which particular theories are based, examining cross-cultural variations, popular culture, gendered interactions and critiquing the range of play contexts that children find themselves today. Students will be supported in their work through observing children, undertaking analyses, and through re-theorising play.


Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. understand the importance of play as a pedagogical construct;
  2. critically analyse the assumptions and research base underpinning the range of theoretical perspectives of play enacted locally, nationally and internationally;
  3. investigate the social construction of play in a range of cross-cultural contexts;
  4. analyse the use of observations of children as a mechanism to evaluate children's play; and
  5. creatively explore the principles of play as a construct for learning in schools, centres and homes.


Assessment task 1: Data collection and multimedia presentation (2,000 words or equivalent, 50%)
Assessment task 2: Concept diagram and action plan (2,000 words or equivalent, 50%)

Chief examiner(s)

Dr Avis Ridgway