Future professionals perceptions of play in early childhood classrooms

Eunjoo Jung, Bora Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This study investigates the perceptions of 207 college students in early childhood education and child and family studies (future professionals) regarding the role of play in early childhood classrooms. The results indicate that future professionals in their freshman and sophomore years in college held relatively positive perceptions of play in early childhood education. However, starting with juniors in college, these perceptions followed a notably different pattern. Although participants generally perceived play in early childhood classrooms as important, these students possessed different perceptions about the role of play in relation to childhood learning and play as a curriculum. Upperclass participants expressed lower positive perceptions, a viewpoint that seemed to begin in 3rd-year students and was particularly evident in seniors. Taking play-related courses in college appeared to help education students maintain positive perceptions about play until their senior year. Given that after graduation, these future professionals will soon enter the education field where child-initiated play-based curriculum, standards-based curriculum, and accountability issues frequently collide, the results of this study will shed light on important elements for preparing future professionals for early childhood classrooms. Implications of the study are discussed, and recommendations for future research are also provided. ©

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-376
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2014


  • early childhood classrooms
  • future professionals
  • perceptions
  • play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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