Loving Learning: The Value of Play Within Contemporary Primary School Pedagogy

  • Dee O’ConnorEmail author
Part of the International Perspectives on Early Childhood Education and Development book series (CHILD, volume 18)


This chapter draws on established literature surrounding children’s play and how children learn. It also presents some topic-specific findings from two recent studies. The social changes in how modern children play are drawn from the 2012 Irish Neighbourhood Play Research Project. This study was carried out by researchers from Early Childhood Ireland and IT Sligo during 2012. The team consisted of D. O’Connor, M. McCormack, J. Angus and P. MacLaughlin. The participants included almost 1700 families and 240 communities throughout Ireland. The generational changes in play were a recurring theme within the findings with the vast majority of parents expressing that they had more freedom and more time outdoors than their children do. The parents were also more than twice as likely to have walked to school, playing on the way, as their children are. In addition, the data shows generational differences in engagement with risk, with nature, with scheduled/timetabled extracurricular activities, with homework, with electronics, with creative activities and with traditional play types and games. The case study is drawn from true recounted stories contained within a 2014 life history study on the development of creativity through childhood education (O’Connor, Bright spark and shining star, love me for who i am and who you are: the development of creativity through childhood education. Doctoral Thesis. The University of Sheffield, UK, 2014b). Pedagogical observations based on the case studies showcased in this study also inform the discussion within this chapter and contribute to the conclusion that a pedagogy of play is a very appropriate and worthy medium of supporting the contemporary child’s holistic educational development.


Reflective Practice Learning Capacity Play Experience Childhood Play Holistic Development 
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

  1. 1.School of EducationThe University of Notre Dame AustraliaFremantleAustralia

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