Play is a serious matter for young children across all cultures. This is evidenced by the passionate, intensive and energetic engagement many children invest in this activity. Play experiences are widely recognised to create the foundation for a child’s healthy and holistic development.
In Finland, opportunities for play are highly regarded in the education of children under seven years old, and the interest in playful learning has extended to the education of older children and even adults.
Professor Kumpulainen’s talk reflects on current international research and how this evidence is reflected in Finnish education policy and practice. It shows how play and learning is also about playing with learning. The talk ends by considering the changing landscape of play in the digital era and its consequences for children’s learning, educational practice and teacher professional competencies.
Kristiina Kumpulainen is Professor of Education at the Department of Teacher Education at the Faculty of Behavioural Sciences, University of Helsinki. She is a founding member and the scientific director of the Playful Learning Center. She has also served as the Director of the Information and Evaluation Services Unit at the Finnish National Board of Education before her current position. She received her PhD in Education from the University of Exeter in 1994.