A play-based curriculum: Hong Kong children's perception of play and non-play

Siu Man WONG, Zhenlin WANG, Pui Wah Doris CHENG

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19 Citations (Scopus)


Hong Kong policy makers have been advocating 'learning through play' as the core element of the curriculum and pedagogy in the pre-primary education for many years. However, many preprimary institutions are still inclined to stress the intellectual aspects rather than focusing on children's developmental needs, interests and abilities. In order to promote the use of a play-based pedagogy, it is essential to understand what 'play' is from the children's perspective. This qualitative study aims to explore how 'play' and 'non-play' are conceptualized amongst young children in the Hong Kong context. Two 5-6 year-old from pre-schools and two Primary one children with 6-7 year-old were invited to participate in the project. They were asked to: 1) take photographs of other children 'playing' and 'non-playing' in their preschool/schools and home/community settings; and, 2) draw pictures of 'play' and 'non-play'. Individual interviews were conducted to discuss about their drawings and the photographs they took and hence to understand how they made sense of 'play' and 'non-play'. The findings showed that both groups of children regarded 'play' as 'joyful' activities and 'non-play' as something related to work or task. The results also demonstrated the significant role of cultural context in influencing children's interests and hence their play. Copyright © 2011 Common Ground, Siu-man Wong, Zhenlin Wang, Doris Cheng, All Rights Reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-180
JournalThe International Journal of Learning
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2011


Wong, S.-M., Wang, Z., & Cheng, D. (2011). A play-based curriculum: Hong Kong children's perception of play and non-play. The International Journal of Learning, 17(10), 165-180. doi: 10.18848/1447-9494/CGP/v17i10/47298


  • Early childhood curriculum
  • Play


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