Grant holder
Liz Chesworth, The University of Sheffield
Project status
In Progress

A research project which aims to develop inclusive and responsive approaches to curriculum planning, pedagogy and provision.

Project summary

This collaborative research aimed to investigate how practitioners understood complexity in play to inform their curriculum decision-making and pedagogical approaches in a multi-diverse pre-school setting. This focus aligns with the theoretical underpinning of Froebel's principles: play is a coherent system leading to diverse and complex manifestations, and is the free, creative expression of human development.

We drew upon the concepts of funds of knowledge, children's interests and working theories to identify and explore the characteristics of this complexity. Combining Froebel's theories with funds of knowledge theories can potentially counterbalance the instrumental framing of play in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) in England (DfE, 2017).

Project objectives

1. To understand practitioners' current funds of knowledge and how these inform their approaches to curriculum planning and decision-making

2. To show how practitioners identify children's funds of knowledge, working theories and interests in their freely-chosen play activities

3. To describe how practitioners use this knowledge in their curriculum decision-making and planning

4. To conceptualise how complexity and diversities intersect in play in a multi-diverse setting, via multi-vocal and multi-modal forms of communication and interactions

5. To propose new ideas and approaches that can inform policy and practice with regard to diverse and complex manifestations of play in multi-cultural communities

6. To disseminate the outcomes of this research for developing inclusive and responsive approaches to curriculum planning, pedagogy and provision