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Past event

Playful Learning and Curriculum

Play has a vital role in helping us live happy and healthy lives. Engaging the imagination in playful learning is crucial in helping us make sense of things, and in fostering the creativity and innovation that are so essential in addressing the complexities of our contemporary world. The experiences of schools and families following Covid-19 lockdowns have brought the importance of play into sharp focus. And the possibilities and benefits of playful learning at school, at home, and in the great outdoors, are multi-faceted and very exciting. Yet in policy and provision, play faces many challenges. Moving forward in education today we must build confidence and competence in translating quality playful approaches into practice. This virtual event aimed to bring together leading experts and practitioners in the field of play, to focus on finding innovative ways to make high quality playful learning a reality for all.


16:00 Welcome and Introduction
Sharon Jones 
16:05 The politics of play: policy and practice
Professor Elizabeth Wood
16:35 Q&A
16:45 Meet the experts (with Sarah Seleznyov)
Dr Christine O’Farrelly, Dr Yinka Olusoga, Dr Glenda Walsh
17:25 Breakout group discussions
Chaired by Sharon Jones, Sarah Seleznyov and Weipeng Yang
17:40 Final panel
Chaired by Sarah Seleznyov and Weipeng Yang
17:55 Closing remarks
Sharon Jones 
18:00 Event close

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Profile picture of Sharon Jones
Sharon Jones, Dr

Senior Lecturer Education Studies (with Modern Languages) at Stranmillis University College

Sharon Jones is senior lecturer in education studies at Stranmillis University College, Queen’s University Belfast.

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Elizabeth Wood, Professor

Professor of Education at University of Sheffield

Elizabeth Wood is professor of education at the University of Sheffield. Her research focuses mainly on early childhood and primary education, with specific interests in play and pedagogy; curriculum and assessment in early childhood education;...

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Christine O’Farrelly

Christine is a Senior Research Associate and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the Centre for Research in Play, Education, Development and Learning at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge. Her research focuses on developing and testing...

Profile picture of Yinka Olusoga
Yinka Olusoga, Dr

Lecturer at University of Sheffield

Dr Yinka Olusoga is a lecturer in education and Course Director of the BA in Education, Culture and Childhood at the University of Sheffield. Her research and teaching focus on discourses and histories of childhood, play and education. She...

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Glenda Walsh, Professor

Head of Early Years Education at Stranmillis University College

Dr Glenda Walsh is an international expert in the field of play and playful pedagogies. Major research projects include the longitudinal evaluation of the Early Years Enriched Curriculum Project that informed the Northern Ireland Primary...

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Sarah Seleznyov, Mrs

Co-headteacher at Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Sarah Seleznyov has worked in London schools for over 25 years and is now leading a brand new primary school in Newham. She has led a Teaching School, been a Deputy Head, a School Improvement Consultant and School Improvement Partner. She also...

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Weipeng Yang, Dr

Assistant Professor at The Education University of Hong Kong

Weipeng Yang, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Early Childhood Education at The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. He specialises in early childhood curriculum and pedagogy with interests in STEAM education, positive education, and...