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Teaching in a play-based curriculum: Theory, practice and evidence of developmental education for young children

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This article focuses on the possibilities of teaching in a play-based curriculum, which has become an issue of international relevance. As a domain of study, the Developmental Education approach was taken in the early grades of Dutch primary schools (grades 1–4, ages 4–8). The article describes the theoretical basis of the approach and how it is elaborated in a play-based curriculum for early years classrooms. Particularly the teachers’ strategies for the promotion of development will be discussed in more detail. Finally, the article presents a piece of the evidence base of this approach by reporting a research on vocabulary acquisition. Despite methodological limitations of the empirical study, the evidence suggests that teaching in a play-based curriculum is not only theoretically plausible and practically feasible, but also seems to be effectively useful for the attainment of positive outcomes (on vocabulary learning) as compared to a strictly teacher-driven approach.
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Keywords: Play; curriculum; developmental education; teaching

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Theory and Research in Education, Faculty Psychology and Education, VU University Amsterdam, Van der Boechorststraat 1, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2: Teacher Training Department, University of Applied Sciences, Hogeschool Zuyd Pabo, Heerlen/Maastricht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 01 August 2013

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