Computer use within a play-based Early Years Curriculum

Laura Rees-Davies, Gareth Miles, Justine Howard

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Early Years curricula promote learning through play and in addition emphasise the development of computer literacy. Previous research however has described that teachers feel unprepared to integrate ICT and play. Also, whereas research has suggested that effective computer use in the early years is associated with adult direction, further research suggests adult presence can inhibit play and reduce children's engagement. Focusing on twelve settings following the Welsh play based Foundation Phase, this paper explores teachers' experiences of integrating computer use into classroom practice, children's levels of engagement with computer activities and how playful children perceive computer use to be. Teachers confidently delivered a variety of computing experiences. Children consistently rated these activities as play regardless of adult presence and demonstrated moderate to high levels of engagement. Findings and the features of observed practice are discussed in relation to the teachers' role as a play partner and the successful co-construction of the play based curriculum.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175 - 189
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • ICT and play
  • play-based curricula
  • early years computer use


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