Assessing children’s play: reality or illusion? The case of early years foundation stage in England

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Since the introduction of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in
England in 2008, assessment of children has taken a formal and
standardized measurable approach. Such an approach goes against
most findings of play-oriented research. Thus, the project reported here
employed participatory action research with practitioners in order to
identify elements of child-initiated play, strategies which allowed
practitioners’ participation as partners and ways (if any) of assessing
such an approach. It was found that practitioners should be concerned
to explore meaningful possibilities of assessing children’s play as it is
impossible to separate or to distinguish functions that appear in
children’s initiated play for assessment purposes. Instead, practitioners’
concern should be on the creation of environments that encourage play
and offer opportunities, experiences, expectations and motivation which
empower children to make choices and decisions based on polyphony,
interactions, commitment, confidence and expertise.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1259-1272
Number of pages15
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2017


  • early childhood education
  • assessment
  • play
  • participatory action research


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