The Play's the Thing: Teachers' Roles in Children's Play

Front Cover
Teachers College Press, Apr 24, 2015 - Education - 169 pages

Responding to current debates on the place of play in schools, the authors have extensively revised their groundbreaking book. They explain how and why play is a critical part of children’s development, as well as the central role adults have to promote it. This classic textbook and popular practitioner resource offers systematic descriptions and analyses of the different roles a teacher adopts to support play, including those of stage manager, mediator, player, scribe, assessor, communicator, and planner. This new edition has been expanded to include significant developments in the broadening landscape of early learning and care, such as assessment, diversity and culture, intentional teaching, inquiry, and the construction of knowledge.

New for the Second Edition of The Play’s the Thing!

Additional theories on the relationship of teachers and children’s play, e.g., Vygotsky and the role of imaginary play and Reggio Emilia’s image of the competent child.Current issues from media content, consumer culture, and environmental concerns.Standards and testing in preschool and kindergarten.Bridging the cultural gap between home and school.Using digital technology to make children’s play visible.Recent brain development research.And much more!

Elizabeth Jones is faculty emerita in human development at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California. Gretchen Reynolds is on the faculty in the early childhood education program at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Canada. Their other books on play include Master Players (Reynolds & Jones) and Playing to Get Smart (Jones & Cooper).

“The Play’s the Thing provides an excellent summary of theories related to the importance of children's play and illustrates the six roles teachers can use to put these theories into practice.”
—Harvard Educational Review

“This book describes the knowledge that is required to foster play and to use it as a solid foundation on which to build learning.”
—From the Foreword to the First Edition by Elizabeth Prescott, Faculty Emerita, Pacific Oaks College

“Playful learning offers educators a plan for creating fun and engaging pedagogies that support rich curricula. . . . And this book offers magnificent descriptions and evidence-based examples of how teachers can pave this new road and create a climate for learning via play.”
—From the Foreword to the Second Edition by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Temple University, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, University of Delaware


Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information