Eastern Connecticut State University
Center for
Early Childhood Education
Text Only Version
Eastern's Home Page

#4: The Importance of Play

Featuring Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith

This e-clip is a winner of a 2011 Telly Award!

View a transcript of this video.

Want to view this video on an iPod or iPad? Download it from iTunes U.

Please help us make better videos! Tell us what you like about this video and how you plan to use it.



Research shows that play has an essential role in children's learning. In e-clip #4, Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith of Eastern Connecticut State University discusses the importance of play and advises early childhood professionals to look at several elements of children's play, including engagement in make-believe play, social interaction during play, and play complexity. Teachers who enhance children's play can help promote children's development in a variety of domains.

Discussion Questions for Early Childhood Teachers and Administrators

  1. What is our philosophy on the role of play in children's learning?
  2. What is our philosophy regarding the role of the teacher in children's play? When should adults become involved in children's play?
  3. How do we support children's make-believe play?
  4. What strategies can we use to facilitate peer interactions among children engaged in play?
  5. How can we support children to engage in more complex play?

Recommended Reading

  • Elkind, D. (2007). The power of play: Learning what comes naturally . Philadelphia, PA: Da Capo Press.
  • Fromberg, D. & D. Bergen (Eds.). (2006). Play from birth to twelve: Contexts, perspectives, and meanings. New York: Routeledge.
  • Frost, J.L., Wortham, S.C., & Reifel, S. (Eds.). (2007). Play and child development (3rd ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill.
  • Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R.M., Berk, L.E., & Singer, D. (2009). A mandate for playful learning in preschool: Presenting the evidence. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Singer, D., Golikoff, R., & Hirsh-Pasek, K. (2006). Play = learning: How play motivates and enhances children's cognitive and social-emotional growth. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Van Hoorn, J., Monighan Nourot, P., Scales, B., & Rodriguez Alward, K. (2007). Play at the center of the curriculum (4th ed.). Columbus, OH: Merrill.
  • Zigler, E.F., Singer, D.G., & Bishop-Josef, S.J. (2004). Children's play: The roots of reading. Washington, DC: Zero to Three Press.

Additional Web Resources on Play

Credits for The Importance of Play

Executive Producer: Julia DeLapp

Producer/Director: Denise Matthews

Production Coordinator: Ken Measimer

Student Production Assistant: Kerin Jaros-Dressler


Back to main e-clips page

Other video resources