Understanding the issues of realizing 'play' in the Hong Kong Early Childhood Curriculum

Pui Wah Doris CHENG

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapters


There is a general belief that ‘play’ serves a very useful function in the learning and development of young children. It is a vital way through which children reconcile their inner lives with the outside world. It is a central activity in kindergartens and nurseries. ‘Learning through play’ is recommended as the mode of learning and teaching of young children in many countries. In Hong Kong, it was documented in an official education report in 1986 and is the key guideline for the implementation of the aims of early childhood education for the next millennium. However, due to the messy nature and ambiguity in definition, ‘play’ is difficult to realize in the classroom context. A case study of six kindergarten teachers in training was conducted to investigate the issues of the links between the theories and practice of ‘play’. The findings showed immense difficulties in capitalizing the benefits of ‘play’ in practice and a huge gap between the practitioners’ espoused intentions and their actions in classroom. The study highlighted the complex nature of learning and teaching and reflected the need for a holistic reform in education. Copyright © 2004 Nova Science Publishers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgress in education
EditorsR. NATA
Place of PublicationHuntington, NY
PublisherNova Science Publishers
ISBN (Print)159454090X
Publication statusPublished - 2004


Cheng, P. W. D. (2004). Understanding the issues of realizing 'play' in the Hong Kong Early Childhood Curriculum. In R. Nata (Ed.), Progress in education (Vol. 13, pp. 171-189). Huntington, NY: Nova Science Publishers.


  • Reflection
  • Professional development of teachers
  • Early childhood teachers' knowledge
  • Play
  • Theory and practice


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