Inspiring Play In Early ChildhoodPlaytime Latest

06/03/2008 – Inspiring Play In Early Childhood

As bunches of bright yellow daffodils peek out from their earthy winter hibernation proclaiming a long awaited sense of Spring and all things new, ‘Inspiring Play In Early Childhood’, written by Jackie Bourke of Playtime, has just been launched. Published by IPPA, the Early Childhood Organisation, Inspiring Play is intended as a publication which meets the needs of parents and childcare practitioners looking for practical advice on how to support children to become deeply involved in play.

The book is divided into three sections:

  1. Section One makes the case for play, examining the various national and international policies on play. It also discusses the value of play in children’s lives.
  2. Section Two looks at the expertise children bring to the world of play, suitable materials, the role of the adult, and how to define quality play.
  3. Section Three gives practical information on play provision.

Adults involved with children – be they parents, teachers, carers or friends – often feel a subtle pressure to buy expensive toys, frequently sold on the basis of their educational merit. While it is of course a good thing that the toy industry recognises that play is educational, the best learning children experience is when they have the time and space to become immersed in highly imaginative play which arises from their own unique needs.

‘Inspiring Play’ encourages the reader to look again at the box the toy came in as a wonderful resource for playing. In the hands of a child that same box can transform into a spaceship on its way to Mars, or neatly morph into a cosy bed for a special teddy bear. By showing an interest in what the children are playing adults communicate respect for the child and play, which encourages self-esteem.

Deferring to the wisdom of children on matters relating to play is also examined in the book and adults are encouraged to observe and listen to children as they communicate – in various ways – their important views.

‘Inspiring Play’ promotes an understanding of the play environment (whether it’s the kitchen floor or the early learning centre) as a space with the potential to “support free flow open-ended spontaneous play which emerges from the interest and needs of the child”

Copies are available through the IPPA at