Playing with Theory

  • Cynthia à BeckettEmail author
  • Sandra Lynch
  • Deborah Pike
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 18)


This chapter presents play as an uplifting but nonetheless complex and elusive ideal, which notoriously resists definition. To greater or lesser extents, depending upon social, cultural and economic conditions, play is recognised as an essential and fundamental aspect of human behaviour and culture. This chapter explores play from both developmental and cultural perspectives, particularly focussing on considerations of play within an educational paradigm. While there are undeniable instrumental benefits, both intellectually and socio-culturally, in using play educationally, the limitations of this developmental focus are addressed. The chapter recognises that a dedicated focus on the use of play for instrumental purposes may undermine its intrinsic personal and interpersonal benefits. Somewhat analogously, play within a commercialised context may also undermine its invigorating possibilities and perhaps conceal malevolence or bias. The chapter concludes by drawing attention to those aspects of play that make for a richer comprehension of its role in human development and in education.


Social Exchange Dynamic System Theory Outdoor Play Early Childhood Setting Pure Possibility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cynthia à Beckett
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sandra Lynch
    • 1
  • Deborah Pike
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Notre Dame AustraliaSydneyAustralia

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