The Importance of Learning Through Play in Early Childhood Education: Reflection on The Bold Beginnings Report


  • Manal ObedAullah Alharbi
  • Mona Mohsen Alzahrani


In this paper, authors reflect on the implications of the report titled “Bold Beginnings: The Reception Curriculum in a Sample of Good and Outstanding Primary Schools” (Ofsted, 2017). This report is a review of curriculum for four-and five-year-old children in the United Kingdom. The Bold Beginnings report argues for teaching young children more academic subjects, instead of introducing learning through play. The report claims when children learn more academic curriculum early without spending too much time on play, they become ready and qualified in their academic lives which in turn, makes instruction easier for their future elementary school teachers.

In contrast, this paper focuses on the importance of allowing young children to learn naturally through a variety of play experiences. The authors argue play is holistic and provides children with a range of support including mental and emotional well-being, social interactions, and physical challenges. The premise for this paper underscores the critical importance that children play and learn about the world with relevance, authenticity, and developmentally appropriate opportunities. Early childhood settings become an extraordinary space for this natural and holistic learning to occur. After describing how play most effectively accommodates children’s unique needs and individual development, authors explain how learning through play provides children the opportunities to grow in a risk-free environment, communicate with peers, express feelings and thoughts, discover and investigate various subjects, improve social-emotional skills, develop language and vocabulary, enhance cognitive capacity, build self-esteem, prepare for life, and establish a foundation for the next stage of school. Early childhood teachers can help students to do all this and more by providing learning through play.