In these linked presentations, Elizabeth will first set out a critical overview of policy versions of play, pedagogy and curriculum in the EYFS and Key Stage 1. She will highlight the power effects of OFSTED as the ‘sole arbiter of quality’, and the contradictions inherent in their research reviews and practice guidance. She contests the idea of curriculum delivery as ‘what is taught’, and the limited understanding of children’s play.
Liz will then present findings from recent research, drawing on contemporary theories of learning to show how children’s everyday lives are rich contexts for curriculum-making. Liz will present three core concepts to inform practice and respond to complexity in children’s play: funds of knowledge, funds of identity and working theories. These theories enable practitioners to recognize children as active contributors to curriculum making, and make meaningful connections between children’s lives at home and in early years settings.
Elizabeth Wood is Professor of Education at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses mainly on early childhood and primary education, with specific interests in play and pedagogy; curriculum and assessment in ECE; teachers’ professionalism and professional knowledge; policy analysis and critique. Her work on play has international reach and influence, and she is Visiting Professor at the University of Auckland, and Australian Catholic University Melbourne.
Liz Chesworth is a lecturer at the University of Sheffield where she directs the full-time Masters in Early Childhood Education. She has worked in the field of early childhood education for 25 years, during which she has taught in nurseries, children’s centres, primary schools and universities. Liz’s current research focuses upon play, curriculum-making and creative pedagogies. She is the Principal Investigator for a research project funded by the Froebel Trust which explores curriculum decision-making and complexity in children’s play within a multi-diverse pre-school setting.