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McGuinness, C. et al. (2014) Impact of a play-based curriculum in the first two years of primary school: literacy and numeracy outcomes over seven years (Journal Article)

Abstract:

In 2000–2002 an innovative early years curriculum, the Enriched Curriculum (EC), was introduced into 120 volunteer schools across Northern Ireland, replacing a traditional curriculum similar to others across the UK at that time. It was intended by the designers to be developmentally appropriate and play-based with the primary goal of preventing the experience of persistent early failure in children. The EC was not intended to be a literacy and numeracy intervention, yet it did considerably alter pedagogy in these domains, particularly the age at which formal reading and mathematics instruction began. As part of a multi-method evaluation running from 2000–2008, the research team followed the primary school careers of the first two successive cohorts of EC children, comparing them with year-ahead controls attending the same 24 schools. Compared to the year-ahead control group, the findings show that the EC children's reading and mathematics scores fell behind in the first two years but the majority of EC children caught up by the end of their fourth year. Thereafter, the performance of the first EC cohort fell away slightly, while that of the second continued to match that of controls. Overall, the play-based curriculum had no statistically significant positive effects on reading and mathematics in the medium term. At best, the EC children's scores matched those of controls.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
40
Page/s:
772-795
Synonyms:
  • Academic achievement
  • Academic outcomes
  • Literacy
  • Longitudinal
  • Numeracy
  • Playful learning
Relevant age group/s:

Papadopoulou, M. (2012) The ecology of role play: intentionality and cultural evolution (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This study examines the evolutionary function of children’s pretence. The everyday, cultural environment that children engage with is of a highly complex structure. Human adaptation, thus, becomes, by analogy, an equally complex process that requires the development of life skills. Whilst in role play children engage in ‘mimesis’ and recreate the ecology of their world in order to gradually appropriate its structures. Role play enables them to create their group cultures, through which they communally explore and assign meaning to their worlds and themselves in it. The research took place in a Greek state school and employed participant and non-participant observation of the children’s role play sessions. The findings, grouped under four thematic categories, may reflect the players’ adaptation and evolutionary processes but also the expression of their deeply rooted, existential concerns at that particular stage of their development.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2012
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
38
Page/s:
575-592
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Pretend play
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s: