Editorial by Professor Chris Pascal and Professor Tony Bertram
This Virtual Special Issue on play is a selection of high interest papers drawn from the EECERJ over the last 2 years. It has the aim of highlighting the value placed on play in early learning and development by the Journal’s Editorial Board. Play continues to be of high interest to our research community and its role in supporting young children’s healthy development becomes ever more evident in a world which often seeks to squeeze it out with a focus on more formal and adult led pedagogic approaches even with our youngest children. Science is increasingly demonstrating what we are learning about the nature and value of different types of play, and how these contribute vitally to children’s well being and developmental progress and as these varied papers show this is a world-wide phenomenon. In this curated virtual EECERJ edition we begin with a review paper which focuses on current knowledge of the value of play on child development (Lai, Ang, Por and Liew) followed by five papers which focus on different types of play, including risky play (Lavrysen, Bertrands, Leyssen, Smets, Vanderspikken and Graef), home play (Lin and Li), socio-dramatic and imaginative play (Loizou), messy play (Gascoyne) and rough and tumble play (Storli and Sandseter). These are followed by two papers which focus on the value of play for friendships (Coelho, Torres, Fernandes and Santos) and the development of language skills (Stangeland) and two which focus on play and citizenship (Grindheim) and finally on how play can promote the inclusion of young migrant children (Kalkman and Clark).
We hope that this selection provides a further stimulus to professional practice and a guide for those policy makers who shape early childhood pedagogies and adds to the body of rigorous and systematic, peer reviewed evidence on the importance of play in our lives.