UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Role of Play and Objects in Children’s Deep-Level Learning in Early Childhood Education Sando, Ole Johan; Sandseter, Ellen Beate Hansen; Brussoni, Mariana


This research investigates the significance of the physical environment in early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions as a facilitator of deep-level learning. Building upon Laevers’ concept of deep-level learning, this study explores the interplay between objects in ECEC settings, children’s play, and their deep-level learning. The primary objective is to examine the potential mediating role of play in the relationship between objects and deep-level learning. The research methodology involves the analysis of a sample consisting of 928 two-minute video observations collected from eight ECEC institutions in Norway. The results demonstrate a positive association between children’s engagement in play, their utilization of objects, and deep-level learning. The findings suggest that constructive and symbolic play partly mediate the positive relationship between deep-level learning and object utilization. These outcomes highlight the pivotal role of play in early childhood education and emphasize how elements within the physical environment can effectively support children’s learning.

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CC BY 4.0