Early Childhood Play Matters

The Early Childhood Play Matters program focuses on the value of play in early childhood education.

Program details

  • Priority area: Communication, wellbeing (social and emotional), access and inclusion
  • Primary audience: Educators
  • Delivery mode: Group training, online, consultancy, coaching, resources (books, kits, manuals)
  • Strength of evidence: Level 6 – Supported by expert opinion
  • AEDC sub-domains:
    • Emotional maturity – anxious and fearful behaviour
    • Social competence – responsibility and respect
  • Item cost: Moderate ($200–$2,000 per person/item)

Program description

Early Childhood Play Matters aims to equip early childhood educators with evidence and affirmation about the value of play. It focuses on:

  • the importance of relationships – developing authentic, culturally appropriate and inclusive practice
  • enhancing children's learning through 'scaffolding' and provision of rich, engaging environments
  • strategies to encourage children to explore learning through investigations linked to the curriculum
  • intentional teaching, planning for and documenting children's learning and development effectively.

Based on the 2015 book Early Childhood Play Matters, by Kathy Walker and Shona Bass, this presentation aims to reinforce the importance of play and intentional teaching, and how play provides essential foundations for life. It also discusses what constitutes best practice in a high-quality early childhood program. A copy of the Early Childhood Play Matters book will be sent to all attendees. There is the option to receive either a hard copy or e-book version of the publication.

Early Life Foundations early childhood consultants will explore the theory of play and how neuroscience informs understanding about children's development. Participants will learn innovative ways to 'add value' to the teaching of literacy, numeracy, STEM and life skills.

To maximise effectiveness, the provider recommends booking coaching sessions for dates after the professional development session has been attended.

2024 dates for scheduled online sessions

  • 29 February 2024 2023, 9.30am – 12.30pm
  • 15 May 2024, 9.30am – 12.30pm
  • 7 August 2024, 9.30am – 12.30pm
  • 26 October 2024, 9.30am – 12.30pm

Detailed cost

  • Half day online: $380, per participant (excluding GST), including a hard copy of the book the Early Childhood Play Matters.
  • Half day online: $320, per participant (excluding GST), including an e-book to accompany the session. A 10% discount is available for 3 registrations or more.
  • Optional coaching (3 x one-hour sessions): $1995 (excluding GST).

For groups bookings of more than 20, please contact the provider.

Implementation considerations

  • Target population: early childhood educators.
  • Program/practice descriptions and details: session includes digital workbook and a copy of the Early Childhood Play Matters book.
  • Staffing: consider a half day backfill for on-line session.
  • Australian experience: Early Life Foundations play-based pedagogy known as Walker Learning has been developed for the Australian context and curriculum and has been delivered Australia wide.
  • Supervision or coaching support: additional Coaching packages available for attendees (optional). Three one-hour blocks for individuals or small teams (delivered via zoom or phone call). This customised coaching will provide educators with tailored support to build on the skills and strategies outlined in the presentation and encourage reflection and development of practice.

VEYLDF alignment

Item uses these practice principles

  • Reflective practice
  • Partnerships with families
  • High expectations for every child
  • Respectful relationships and responsive engagement
  • Integrated teaching and learning approaches
  • Partnerships with professionals

Item responds to these sub-outcomes

Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.