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Consensus or Dissensus? Stakeholders’ Views on the Role of Play in Learning

Across cultures and eras, children have engaged in play as part of the process of growing and maturing into adulthood. Play has been recognized as an effective form of pedagogy to promote learning in the early years. However, beliefs about what play is and how it should be practiced vary across Hong Kong and in other countries. Because Chinese culture places a heavy emphasis on academic achievement, a play-based curriculum has not been widely implemented in the region. Through classroom observations and interviews with key stakeholders in early childhood education, namely parents, teachers, and principals, this study reveals the complexity of views on this matter and uncovers the root cause of the difficulties in supporting play in the Hong Kong kindergartens. These findings may help promote the play-based curriculum in Hong Kong and other countries where play is in crisis. (Contains 1 table.)