Crossing the borders of play and learning: ethnic Asian-Chinese perspectives on the value and purpose of a play-based early childhood curriculum

“Learning through play” is an important component of Western early childhood education, and plays a key role in the play-based curriculum in New Zealand (Ministry of Education, 1996; White, O’Malley, Toso, Rockel, Stover, & Ellis, 2007). However, this concept is challenged in New Zealand by Ethnic Asian-Chinese (EAC) immigrant families, who question the educational value of play for young children (Guo, 2006; Li, 2001a; Liao, 2007; Wu, 2003, 2009). For the early childhood education sector in New Zealand, this tension is compounded by the early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996), because it affirms both the valuing of play and the valuing of diverse cultural perspectives. Further research and discussion of EAC immigrant parental perspectives on play in early childhood education will be essential to addressing this tension. The objective of this research is to investigate EAC parental perspectives on the value and purpose of a play-based early childhood curriculum and to explore the implications for early childhood teachers in order to support the building of effective partnership with immigrant families in New Zealand. This research involved eight EAC immigrant parents who had or currently have at least one child attending a play-based early childhood setting in New Zealand. A qualitative approach was employed to allow EAC parents’ experiences, values and beliefs of a play-based curriculum to be explored and examined in detail. Factors that EAC parents perceive as being most important for children to learn at a play-based early childhood curriculum were explored through interviews with the volunteer participants. Findings from the study revealed that although EAC parents may view learning as distinct from play, they agree that children should have an opportunity to play and expect their children to learn through play. The results of the study contribute to an understanding of the historical and cultural background of EAC parents and how they perceive children’s learning and play. Practical suggestions for pedagogy and future research were also identified
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 49,040
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Narrative Identity and Early Childhood Education.Sandy Farquhar - 2012 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 44 (3):289-301.
Birth on the Playground: Boys' Experiences Playing with Gender.Jenifer Millan - 2012 - Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology 12 (sup1):1-11.
Foucault and the Early Childhood Classroom.Lynn E. Cohen - 2008 - Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association 44 (1):7-21.
Child’s Play.Jeffrey A. Bernstein - 2011 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 16 (1):49-64.


Added to PP index

Total views
13 ( #671,599 of 2,311,177 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #753,181 of 2,311,177 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes

Sign in to use this feature