Exploring Preschool Parents’ Understanding of Play-based Learning and its Importance in Early Childhood Education


  • Gurdip Kaur Saminder Singh
  • Izawati Ngadni


Preschool Parents, Early Childhood Education (ECE), Play-Based Learning (PBL)


Play, a context identified by Article 31 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) as a human right, contributes significantly to a child’s optimal growth and development. Although play-based learning (PBL) is known as the very core of the “Developmentally Appropriate Practice” (DAP) that is currently observed at the Malaysian preschool context, many preschools do not address play as a critical component for early childhood development. One of the major reasons cited by school administrators is that preschools are pressured by parents and stakeholders for producing high academic achievers and primary-level ready students. The purpose of this study hence was to explore preschool parents itself, to identify further their understanding of play-based learning and their view on the importance of PBL in the early childhood education context. Through the “maximum variation” sampling technique, eighteen parents were selected from seven different states in Malaysia to obtain their views on PBL. Findings from this qualitative study steered six major themes for discussion which include contextualizing the term ‘play’ and ‘play-based learning’, their awareness about PBL as a teaching method, preschool’s initiatives on injecting awareness about play-based learning, their recognition that play-based learning can holistically develop children, their acceptance on PBL as a pedagogy for a child’s development and their concerns of PBL on children’s primary level school readiness.