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Play in early teaching: The PlayBack programme

Our PlayBack programme uses videos of teachers and children playing in everyday situations to boost the child-teacher bond.

The Playback project is currently adapting a video-led, play-based programme to be used in reception classes. For young children, successfully transitioning into school is important to set them up for the best start to their educational experiences. We know that children who are struggling to manage their emotions and behaviour and children facing certain disadvantages, can be more in need of support during the transition into school.

Given that a supportive teacher relationship can be a strong protective factor for children, the PlayBack programme is aimed at promoting teachers’ ability to notice how their students are communicating, to correctly interpret this communication, and to then respond to the students in a sensitive manner. This programme will help teachers manage students with more challenging behaviours, empowering the teachers to better foster these students’ development and academic outcomes.

Uniquely, the PlayBack programme incorporates guided play and learning within its framework. Guided play is child-led play supported by an adult who has a specific learning goal in mind, and who uses modelling, prompting, and asking questions to guide the child’s learning. The programme aims to increase the teacher’s ability to follow the child’s lead, extend the child’s exploration, and adapt their response to the child’s individual needs and understanding.

Our spectrum of play (based on Zosh et al., 2018)

Blog about guided play

Read our blog all about guided play and it’s place in early years teaching.

Journal article

Read our open-access systematic review and meta-analysis examining guided play and published in Child Development.