SRF Program

  • Early Childhood Play Matters

    VEYLDF Alignment

    ​Item uses these practice principles: Reflective practice, partnerships with families, High expectations for every child, Respectful relationships and responsive engagement, Integrated teaching and learning approaches, Partnerships with professionals.

    Item responds to these sub-outcomes: Children become strong in their social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.


    Early Childhood Play Matters aims to equip early childhood educators with evidence and affirmation about the value of play. It focuses on:

    • the importance of relationships - developing authentic, culturally appropriate and inclusive practice.
    • enhancing children's learning through 'scaffolding' and provision of rich, engaging environments.
    • strategies to encourage children to explore learning through investigations linked to the curriculum
    • intentional teaching, planning for and documenting children's learning and development effectively.

    Based on the 2015 book Early Childhood Play Matters, by Kathy Walker and Shona Bass, this presentation aims to reinforce the importance of play and intentional teaching, and how play provides essential foundations for life. It also discusses what constitutes best practice in a high-quality early childhood program. A copy of the Early Childhood Play Matters book will be sent to all attendees. 

    Early Life Foundations early childhood consultants will explore the theory of play and how neuroscience informs understanding about children's development. Participants will learn innovative ways to 'add value' to the teaching of literacy, numeracy, STEM and life skills.

    To maximise effectiveness, the provider recommends booking coaching sessions for dates after the professional development session has been attended. 

    Dates for scheduled online sessions:

    • 2 March 2023, 9.30am-12.30pm 
    • 17 May 2023, 9.30am-12.30pm 
    • 9 August 2023, 9.30am-12.30pm 
    • 26 October 2023, 9.30am-12.30pm 

    Detailed Costs

    Half day online: $342 (excl. GST) which includes the Early Childhood Play Matters book.

    Optional coaching: $1995 (excl. GST)

    Implementation Considerations

    Target population: early childhood educators.

    Program/practice descriptions and details: Session includes digital workbook and a copy of the Early Childhood Play Matters book.

    Staffing: Consider a half day backfill for on-line session. 

    Australian experience: Early Life Foundations play-based pedagogy known as Walker Learning has been developed for the Australian context and curriculum and has been delivered Australia wide.

    Supervision or coaching support: Additional Coaching packages available for attendees (optional). Three 1-hour blocks for individuals or small teams (delivered via zoom or phone call). This customised coaching will provide educators with tailored support to build on the skills and strategies outlined in the presentation and encourage reflection and development of practice. 

    Priority Area

    Communication, Wellbeing (social and emotional), Access and inclusion

    Strength of Evidence

    ​Level 6 – Supported by expert opinion