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The role of play in supporting healthy development and learning

Understanding theory, policy, and practice within the field today requires a long lens through which current research is considered within the context of historical contributions and theoretical perspectives. Just as we strive to understand children within their context, we must work to understand the current contemporary issues and their contextual origins.

In this Assignment, you explore contemporary issues in early childhood education in terms of their current evidence base and historical context. This Assignment provides you with a unique opportunity to understand what has shaped knowledge of contemporary issues and how these are defined today.

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To Prepare

Imagine that you have been invited to work with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to organize a World Conference on Early Childhood Education. The theme this year is a shared vision of what it means to work for the healthy development of young children and their families and why this work is vitally important. People from all over the world working in related fields who believe in this goal will be in attendance, as well as high-level officials who need help understanding the historical underpinnings and current evidence base for key issues of impact within the field of early childhood. You have been asked to organize a specific conference subtopic of your choice—one that either investigates an issue, provides essential foundational knowledge, or encourages exploration/debate related to a particular issue that affects healthy development of young children and positive family outcomes.

You may choose one of the conference subtopics below, or decide on one of your own:

  • The role of play in supporting healthy development and learning
  • The role of attachment in supporting healthy development and learning
  • The impact of historical and/or contemporary views of children, development, and learning on early childhood education
  • The nature of childhood

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