Rethinking Play, Diversity and Belonging in Early Childhood Education
Source TitleBeijing International Review of Education
University of Melbourne Author/sArndt, Sonja
AffiliationMelbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsARNDT, S. (2020). Rethinking Play, Diversity and Belonging in Early Childhood Education. Beijing International Review of Education, 2 (2), pp.226-243. https://doi.org/10.1163/25902539-00202006.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
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.
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