New book will “stimulate new research into children’s play”

Critics have given a positive verdict on Policy Press’s new publication, ‘Practice-based research in children’s play’. Published last month, it utilises new methodologies in researching children’s play. 

The book is edited by Doctors Wendy Russell and Stuart Lester, together with their colleague, the play studies lecturer Hilary Smith, all from the University of Gloucestershire. As previously reported the book is ‘a unique collection’ of 12 research projects carried out by experienced practitioners in the play sector in the UK and USA.

The reviews

In the book’s foreword Berry Mayall discusses how the chapters ‘point to a range of physical environments in which play takes place, including streets, clubs, adventure playgrounds and museums. However, a key enabling condition is the loosening of adult control over children’s activities, so that children are freed up to develop their play’.

Alexandra Long, Childhood Development & Playwork Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, says the book has ‘many highlights’. In particular, chapter eleven where Stephen Smith critiques the professional and ethical framework for Playwork ‘in relation to disabled children, specifically those with profound and multiple learning disabilities and seeks ways to support staff, in guiding their practice when working with this group of children’. Also, chapter four where Tom Williams uses autoethnography to make ‘inroads in unpicking the unique offer of Adventure Playgrounds to children and communities’.

Professor Fraser Brown, the first Professor of Playwork in the World from Leeds Beckett University says, “This timely volume offers many new perspectives on an under-researched subject. It will surely help to stimulate new research into children’s play.”

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist and the Community Manager of Child in the City.

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