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Final report: Play in early learning programs: Beliefs, practices and professional development

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Gabriel, Martha & Doiron, Ray
Publication Date: 
14 Jun 2012


Major efforts are underway in Prince Edward Island to build research capacity within the early childhood community with particular attention to examining the changing role of Directors of Early Years Centres (EYCs), exploring early childhood educators' beliefs about play and learning, as well as developing action research projects within the early childhood system. This report summarizes the fourth phase of Play in Early Learning Programs: Beliefs, Practices, and Professional Development project funded by the Early Childhood Association (ECDA) of Prince Edward Island (PEI). In it, we delineate details about the development, facilitation, and process of how Directors and educators learned to conduct action research projects in four Early Years Centres.

Throughout the project, early childhood educators (ECEs) expressed the belief that this action research project impacted their own practice, and that there is now: (a) an affirmation of their values and beliefs in early childhood pedagogy; (b) increased awareness of play-based pedagogy and personal practice; (c) increased communication with fellow staff, colleagues, children and parents; (d) a better understanding of how to make children's learning visible, and how to connect play to learning outcomes in the new PEI Early Learning Framework; and (e) they began to recognize their personal resilience and increased self-efficacy, as educators gave evidence of a strong belief in themselves and in the work that they do.