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PLAYFUL LEARNING ACROSS IRELAND (the PLAI Study):: a Student Teacher Intervention in Early Years Education

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In an attempt to resolve some of the lingering tensions involved in implementing play as learning in early years classrooms across the island of Ireland, a shared form of professional development known as ‘Playful Learning’ was delivered together to a group of student teachers in the final years of their degree programme both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The professional development programme was two-fold: it involved a shared programme of study on up-to-date research and practices on playful learning and teaching and a playful learning intervention, where students, both North and South, had the opportunity to plan and implement a series of playful learning experiences in an early years classroom/setting of their choice. This report details the impact of such an intervention on student teachers’ beliefs and practices about playful approaches to teaching and learning and will attempt to unpick the underpinning features of a high quality playful learning approach in practice.
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