Abstract: 

We discuss early childhood educators’ perceptions of what constitutes play, the contributions of play to children’s learning, tensions arising from and principles guiding their use of play in their teaching contexts. Participants, who are primary teachers, early childhood educators, administrators and consultants working in northern communities in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, voiced their views in interviews. Their views are discussed in terms of curriculum expectations relating to play in curriculum documents and the theories and findings within the play research literature.

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