A1 Journal article (refereed)
Inclusive Play : Defining Elements of Playful Teaching and Learning in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse ECEC (2023)

Kangas, J., Lastikka, A.-L., & Arvola, O. (2023). Inclusive Play : Defining Elements of Playful Teaching and Learning in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse ECEC. Education Sciences, 13(9), Article 956. https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13090956

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsKangas, Jonna; Lastikka, Anna-Leena; Arvola, Outi

Journal or seriesEducation Sciences


Publication year2023

Publication date19/09/2023


Issue number9

Article number956

PublisherMDPI AG

Publication countrySwitzerland

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/89225

Publication is parallel publishedhttp://hdl.handle.net/10138/565480


Inclusive values are integral to early childhood education and care (ECEC) policies, promoting equal participation opportunities and individual support for all children. Play serves as a method for meaningful engagement, mutual cultural knowledge creation, and learning within ECEC. Pedagogical play entails teachers’ observation, interaction, support, and guidance. This study investigates practical elements and methods employed by teaching staff and experienced by children during playful activities. Conducted as a case study in two culturally diverse ECEC centers during spring 2023, data collection involved video-recorded monitoring of children’s daily activities in five groups. Video data were transcribed and analyzed using content analysis tools to identify categories of inclusive play. Findings are presented as narratives to honor children’s experiences. The study identifies five elements of inclusive play: teachers’ active participation and presence, balanced repetition with flexible plans and adaptive goals, playful language fostering joy in play, non-verbal and kinesthetic communication with enabling tools, and emerging play marked by interaction and lasting intensity. These elements reveal opportunities and challenges for children’s inclusion and learning approaches, informing recommendations for promoting inclusive play in ECEC. Inclusive play emphasizes diverse strategies accommodating differences in learning styles and modes of knowledge expression among teaching staff and children.

Keywordsinclusionsocial inclusionearly childhood education and careplaying (children's games)play-based pedagogypedagogylearninginteractionmulticulturalismday care centres

Free keywordsinclusion; play; case study; early childhood education and care; pedagogy

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

Preliminary JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 21:56