Hibernia College launched its 2022 Summer Series with an online presentation on 7 July by Dr Glenda Walsh, who shared insights from her research on pedagogy and play. The focus of this year’s Summer Series is on the topic of play.
What’s all the fuss about play?
Dr Walsh’s presentation was titled ‘What’s all the fuss about play?’ and was based on a published paper of the same title, co-authored with Dr Jacqueline Fallon of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). ‘What’s all the fuss about play? Expanding student teachers’ beliefs and understandings of play as pedagogy in practice’ sought to explore the use of play in the early years classroom.
Dr Walsh shared the impacts of an intervention conducted with Irish student teachers on their understanding of playful learning. The intervention — Playful learning across Ireland (PLAI) — resulted in ‘greater critical and more expansive appreciation of playing as learning and teaching’. The student teachers came to appreciate the value of play and ways to effectively integrate it into the early years classroom.
Participants of the presentation engaged in lively discussions with Dr Walsh, and it was evident that this topic warrants deep discussion and further research. Play is a very complex activity, and understanding our role as playful partners in children’s playful learning emerged as a key area for further exploration.
Expert in playful pedagogy
Dr Walsh is an international expert in the field of play and playful pedagogies and a significant contributor to curriculum development in Northern Ireland (NI) and beyond. She is Head of Early Years Education at Stranmillis University College, Belfast and Assistant Director of the Centre for Research in Educational Underachievement. She has undertaken many major research projects such as the longitudinal evaluation of the Early Years Enriched Curriculum Project in NI that informed the NI Primary Curriculum and is presently working on a large-scale study in the Republic of Ireland, examining early childhood care and education.
Most of Dr Walsh’s work has a strong applied focus — she works closely with early years settings, schools and government bodies devising and disseminating models of good practice within early years education and delivering an extensive programme of professional development for teachers in NI and beyond.
We are grateful for the opportunity to have learned from Dr Walsh, and we look forward to the next presentation in our 2022 Summer Series. These events are open to the public — feel free to join us. To register for the next webinar, follow us on Eventbrite