Teachers’ views on play-based practice in Abu Dhabi kindergartens

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports on play practices in the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s (ADEC) New School Model (NSM) Kindergarten framework from the teachers’ perspective. The NSM framework develops the whole child through two strands: Approaches to Learning and Academic Performance. It acknowledges that play is critical for growth and learning, yet its practice in the Abu Dhabi context receives little attention. This study aims to explore the value teachers give to play and their prioritisation of factors that impact on the quantity and quality of their practice. Data is collected through focus groups combined with the nominal group technique (NGT). Findings show that teachers have different definitions of play but all recognise its value for child growth and learning. Factors impacting negatively on play include: teacher time, pressure of academic goals and assessment. A lack of understanding was noted amongst colleagues, parents and children on play practices. This was reflected in teaching practice, and in children's play choices at home. Recommendations are made to enhance the quantity and quality of play in ADEC's KGs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-286
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Early Years Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 25 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Abu Dhabi kindergartens
  • focus groups
  • nominal group technique
  • play in local context
  • priority factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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