This paper explores the role of play in a research project that documented and elucidated responses to a culturally diverse music program of five preschool-aged children in a child-care centre in Melbourne, Australia. The study was conducted over a period of nine weeks. The music program was conducted playfully, concentrating not only on the musical features and premeditated pedagogical devices, but on children’s contribution to the content and arrangements of the music sessions. The methodology employed in the study was conceptually rooted in the socio-cultural framework. The researcher took into consideration that learning is purported in a social environment and changes in character within a variety of social contexts. The social aspects of play were well-captured in the large number of Learning Stories that were written about and with the children. The Learning Story method of gathering, analysing and planning from data was employed as this socio-cultural approach encompassed contextual factors and celebrated children’s active role in the process of learning within and beyond the music program. The analysis of Learning Stories revealed that children’s learning is more profound when there are opportunities for play, on their own terms; this consideration is strongly recommended for future research projects.

In: Beijing International Review of Education

Play is an important vehicle for developing literacy, cognition, and social competence in early years settings. In this paper, a qualitative case study in a private kindergarten in China indicated how children could learn and appreciate their own culture in a thoughtfully designed play-based setting. Thirty kindergarten teachers from 15 classes consisting of 431 children in total participated in this study. Based on field notes, audio and video recordings, and teachers’ self-reflective notes, the study explored the play-based setting within a curriculum framework, i.e. the Early-years Whole-person Global-mindset Curriculum Framework (ewgc). The results showed that the play-based setting supported young children to form their own cultural identities and enhanced children’s development in general.

In: Beijing International Review of Education

Distinguished Teacher Workshops are important ways for teacher professional development. Through questionnaires and interviews with over 1,000 participants, this paper reports the implementation of the Distinguished Teacher Workshops in Guangxi, China, covering their operational mechanism and initial outcomes: The empowerment of members; the strengthened internal motive of the community; and the enhanced vitality of professional development and a more sustainable development community for teachers. It is concluded that the Distinguished Teacher Workshops have shown that distinguished teachers play a leading role in teacher development in Guangxi.

In: Beijing International Review of Education

This paper presents a small-scale exploratory study investigating social play among 8- to 11-year-old Chinese children. Semi-structured interviews were carried out with six self-selected pairs of children in six natural settings (two homes, two parks, and two playgrounds). Children’s responses to the interview questions and their spontaneous play activities during the interview were audio-recorded and analysed thematically based on transcription. Pretend play and games with rules were found to be two popular types of social play among these children. Three features of social play activities were identified: combination of real-life elements and creation, combination of variation and consistency, and combination of conflicts and compromises. According to children’s own perspectives, being appropriately challenged, being fair, and having autonomy were important for them during play. Children also reported positive emotions during play and negative emotions when not having opportunity to play. Limitations and implications of the study are discussed.

In: Beijing International Review of Education
Author: LI Jian

Since 2015, both the educational policymakers and practitioners in China passionately have sought to raise the educational quality, especially in Chinese rural schools. Series of significant and instructive reforms were designed to boost educational quality comes from China, where in 2015 the central government enacted an overwhelming educational policy to reform rural teacher development. China’s politics on reforming rural teacher development differ from similar reforms elsewhere in Asia countries due to the strong role of centralized top-down power representatives, various types of policy formation pathways and the final consulted settlement with the national and local teacher committees. This study also emphasizes the discussion on the complicated roles of distributive education politics and policy networks in contemporary Chinese education system.

In: Beijing International Review of Education
Author: Rene NOVAK

This paper will elaborate on the different ways play is being framed in the contemporary western world and how framing play is making it susceptible to manipulation that employs it to work in contradiction with its core purposes. The author suggests a contemporary paradox that arises in the core of early childhood education concerning child’s play. As play is a basic developmental function of mind and body common to all mammals, some important functions of play are going to be investigated. Due to the established fact that freedom to exercise play is of the outmost importance for a normal developing mammal from infancy to adulthood, this paper will focus on the reasons as to why people defy nature, by restricting its young in this basic form of activity and engagement, hindering their normal development, and ignoring that play carries vital epistemological and ontological human significance. Commercialisation of play alongside the disappearing time and space for free play in communities, at home, school and ece centres will be accounted for as reasons for an erosion of play, alongside some influential ideologies of play.

Following form this the author investigates how framing play accounts for difficulties in empirical research of play, contributing to a lack of clear pedagogical, phenomenological and methodological answers about play and hence raises questions concerning a need for further phenomenological investigations of play alongside alternative methodological frameworks to ‘see’ beyond the elusiveness of play.

In: Beijing International Review of Education

The role of play in early childhood settings has become a global issue due to coordinated policy trends that privilege early learning, academic foci and formalised assessments amid a broader economic and investment agenda. This paper undertakes a critical discourse analysis of the Australian and New Zealand national early childhood curricula frameworks in order to examine the treatment of play and learning as they relate to one another. The analysis revealed that curriculum documents from both Australia and New Zealand drew on lifelong learning ideological frames to present a view of play as an activator of learning, where learning is interpreted as observable and recognisable academic processes. It was found that the agency attributed to the child in play and learning processes was central to how the role of the adult was interpreted, with implications for the play opportunities that children may encounter.

In: Beijing International Review of Education
Author: Sonja ARNDT

We might say that children’s play is the foundation of all learning. Often play is recognized as integral to childhood, but children’s abilities to engage in play are complex and these complexities can be easily overlooked. This paper elevates children’s play as critical for their learning, particularly in support of their sense of belonging. The paper argues for an openness to the complexities of children’s play as a crucial practice of their cultural identity, through a critical conceptualization of some of the nuances and uncertainties of children’s subject formation.

Drawing on concerns of cultural difference in early childhood education, Julia Kristeva’s foreigner lens and her theory on the subject in process are used to theorise children’s play as an ongoing process of belonging. Through the notions of the semiotic, abjection, love and revolt, the notion of the subject in process is elaborated to reconceptualize play as also in-process and ongoing. Rethinking play as a vital process within the sometimes difficult, often unpredictable experiences of becoming part of a centre community is elevated as crucial for a sense of belonging in early childhood education.

In: Beijing International Review of Education
Author: E. Jayne WHITE

Abstract

Play holds a precarious status in early childhood education curriculum and even more so in pedagogy. Misaligned with adult-ceatred discourses that seek to name and frame learning according to established curriculum ideals, the educators’ quest is to capture evidence of leaving in an ontologic trap that binds teachers in the service of the state and its priorities. Yet, an increasing body of dialogically inspired research seeks to suspend such authoritative strongholds by revealing the nuanced state of play that exceeds such framings. In this paper the dialogic notion of visual surplus is specifically exploited through the deployment of 360 degree footage filmed in an ece centre, and dialogues about what is seen, generated as part of a larger study. Through such excess playful encounters with and about young learners – often in spite of, not because of, well-meaning adult interventions – make a mockery of those claims that are made by adults through their play. Instead, a democratic agenda is set for play as a series of alteric as well as agentic events that lay bare the trap and attempt to escape it.

In: Beijing International Review of Education
Author: Natalie Klein

Cruise ships have contributed to the spread of covid-19 around the world and State responses to the pandemic have needed to account for the presence of these ships in their ports and the medical treatment of both passengers and crew on board. This contribution outlines the key bodies of international law that must be brought to bear in deciding on State action in response to cruise ships and their covid-19 cases: the law of the sea, international health law, shipping conventions and especially treaties protecting the rights of seafarers, international human rights law and laws relating to consular assistance. While these laws tend to reinforce each other, it is argued that the need for humanitarian considerations to feature strongly in State decision-making is challenged by systemic weaknesses.

In: Journal of International Humanitarian Legal Studies