20 Minutes to Think About Play…

Alistair Bryce-CleggUncategorized21 Comments

Most weeks I do a lot of talking about play, but this week has been particularly play focussed.

I have been working on the final edits for my next book 365 Days of Play which is due out next month. This is a really different style of book for me. It is a collection of thoughts, quotes, facts and ideas all about play. It has been a pleasure to research and collate – an altogether more ‘playfu’l experience than the usual writing and editing process that goes into creating a book!

On Thursday I had the pleasure of talking to Gill Jones, one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors and Ofsted’s Deputy Director of Early Education, all about the new inspection framework, a curriculum for the Early Years and her thoughts on the importance of play in our Early Years settings. I also filmed our chat, so once I have edited the footage I will share what we discussed.

I ended my week with some really interesting and exciting discussions about a possible intergenrational play project that will have long term benefits for older adults and children alike. I will share more news about that when I have some!

Whilst I filled my week thinking and talking about the importance of play, I know that lots of Early Years practitioners are fighting against expectations and directives that limit the amount of opportunity that they feel they can give children to play. This is something that needs to change!

To end this blog post I am going to share a video all about play from International Play Iceland. They are a non profit organisation that is working with childcare practitioners from all over the globe to join forces and change the way that children are educated once and for all.

In the video you will hear from play advocates like Tom Shea, Teacher Tom (Hobson), Niki Buchan, Mine Conkbayir and many more.

It lasts for 20 minutes and is well worth the watch. So, grab yourself a cup of tea, sit down and have a mini play reboot!

For more information about the work of International Play Iceland, you can click here.


Have a great weekend,



21 Comments on “20 Minutes to Think About Play…”

  1. Really enjoyed this… everyone needs reminding that we need to enjoy play it makes everyone happy and connected….young and old….thankyou!

  2. When I trained as a Nursery Nurse back in the day, the course focused very heavily on Play and the importance of it.
    How children learn and develop through play, but as was mentioned in the video the word Play is problematic. I am fortunate to have worked in 2 schools that offer Forest school to children as part of the curriculum. All schools where possible should be made to include this on the curriculum. You mentioned that we need a culture shift from the top, but how is that going to happen?

  3. Hi Alistair,
    Just wondering if you ever managed to edit that Gill Jones stuff into anything presentable? I would be really interested to hear / see it.
    Cheers, Byron D-V

  4. Thank you so much for providing another insight into why Play is so important. The video has challenge my dinosaur head into rethinking time and time again the importance of play not just in early years but how can I reintroduce in KS 2 and KS 3 (currently working as a TA).
    End of term project I am designing an outdoor area for EYFS and boy I am really shaking of some cobwebs and pre-thoughts. My lecturer Ms Veale – Learning through play, has open up an whole new world of learning. I am becoming quite the activist trying to change colleagues thought process. So thank you for re-inventing the wheel because your “site” is a real learning journey for me that I am dipping my big toe into.

  5. This is a very good video, and yes its very true we actually forget as practitioners the importance of play because we are so drawn up on making sure we are following the curriculum and continuously feel like we have to complete a tick chart.This does not let children develop at their own speed. Our society around us plays a huge role to, things like the educators in early years provisions and even the parent interactions. Things like technology, apps and devices which impact our children and their childhood in regards to a over all holistically, but more so their physical, social and cognitive domains. We should be able to stretch our children’s learning and give their freedom and allow choice. Lets value the importance of play!!!!!!!

  6. Wow Alistair that video was so interesting and powerful! It made me feel quite sad, how many time do we hear people say children grow up far to fast and yet it is adults that make them grow up too quickly, they only have such a small window in their lives to “PLAY” and they need it so badly. Children have their whole lives to learn and what better way is there then to start them of by enjoying the art of play, like the person said in the video we are always looking to the next step and the next step, just let them be 1 2 3 4 ect. In the world we live in their lives will get busy and complicated enough so let them learn though play. 🙂
    (Now Stepping down from my soapbox)

  7. Why is play such a difficult concept to get our adult heads around? As one of the teachers asks, “What are we so afraid of?”

    I find it incredulous how we’ve ‘sleep walked’ our way into this top down education approach. It’s time to put children first.

    1. Couldn’t agree more Jonathan. We need a significant culture shift – from the top!

  8. It’s quite emotional to watch. On one hand it’s so lovely to sit and listen to people who get ’play’ for that it really is. Then you feel angry and sad that so many educators who seem so reluctant to see play as a child’s most natural learning tool. Then I think of all the children who miss out. I guess we just have to keep spreading the message, it’s all we can do. 🧡

    1. Absolutely! It is always good to take some time to remind ourselves why we do what we do and then keep spreading the word so that it can impact on as many children as possible.

  9. Wow wow wow! I am soooooo going to share this with every member of staff in my school. As a EYFS leader I am forever having to justify my play based learning and the importance of it. This film sums it up simply and to the point, well done to all those involved in making it.

    1. Yes, Absolutely Fran. I asked Tom (Shea) and he said he is happy for anyone and everyone to share it far and wide!

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