Is play at risk in the 21st century? Much has been written on the potential for children’s play to be usurped by more rigorous academics in early childhood curricula and by the growing trend of commercialization (Hill, 2011). This discourse prioritizes play as a means to an end (i.e., play for learning; play to combat obesity), but what of children’s right to play? Some of the polarization within academic studies point to a decline in children’s imaginative play (Bishop, 2009; Kline, 1993) and a characterization of children ‘glued’ to screens instead of climbing trees (Buckingham, 2011; Louv, 2008). Other academics have found that children’s play is not in decline. Rather children’s 21st Century play appears to be complex, ambiguous, and a hybrid of the varied aspects of children’s lives (Willett, Burn, Bishop, Richards, & Marsh, 2013). Join scholars, researchers, and practitioners for an informative and engaging day of presentations, networking, and critical dialogue on the role of play in early childhood education, preschool, and the early primary years.
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