Taking play seriously in the pre-primary English classroom

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10 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on experience and the emerging results of a research project, this article examines the role of play, in particular child-initiated play, when learning languages in pre-primary settings. It begins by characterizing play and highlights the importance of a balanced relationship between adult-led and child-initiated play activities. It proposes that English learning areas might facilitate child-initiated play in the target language, and analyses the relationship between adult-led and child-initiated play, consequently outlining a possible format and its components: structure, role, and script. Analysis of a teacher-led activity with a group of children demonstrates how this format supports children in later child-initiated play. Excerpts from observations of children in English learning areas exemplify how teacher-led instruction can enable child-initiated play. The article concludes with a discussion around the implications for practice in pre-primary EFL settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberccu018
Pages (from-to)254-264
Number of pages11
JournalELT Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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