Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Playful Teaching and Learning

This event has now finished. Please see our events website for details of upcoming events at Brookes.

early years

Who this event is for

  • Staff - teaching
  • Staff - research
  • Current students - undergraduate
  • Current students - postgraduate taught
  • Current students - postgraduate research


The Glasgow Room, Harcourt Hill Campus


This seminar is hosted by Dr Dorothy McMillan and Dr Glenda Walsh, their recent book 'Playful Teaching and Learning'  draws on a wealth of research on play, learning, pedagogy and curriculum in early childhood education. The contributors rightly emphasise the importance of play to children, and the opportunities that play provides for learning and development. Each of the chapters is informed by international research, and offers contrasting perspectives about different forms of play, and the challenges that practitioners face in their practice. 

Dorothy McMillan was, until recently, a senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Stranmillis University College, Belfast, teaching on the PGCE (Early Years), BA and MA in Early Childhood Studies degree programmes. She has wide experience of working with children, as a former primary school teacher, nursery school principal and playgroup leader, and has also been involved in setting up and running parent and toddler groups. Her doctoral thesis centred on the conceptual notion of ‘educare’ in preschool settings and its implications for early years training. Her research interests are focused on training and early years professionalism issues, including management and leadership. Dorothy recently moved to live in The Netherlands where she has joined the staff team at the International Baptist Theological Study Centre in Amsterdam. 

Glenda Walsh is Head of Early Years Education and principal lecturer at Stranmillis University College, a College of Queen’s University Belfast. Her research interests centre on quality issues in Early Childhood Education, particularly in the field of pedagogy and curriculum. Her PhD thesis focused on an evaluation of play versus formal experiences for 4-5 year old children in Denmark and Northern Ireland and for the purposes of her doctoral study, she designed an observation tool, known as the Quality Learning Instrument. Subsequently she has been involved in many major research projects such as the longitudinal evaluation of the Early Years Enriched Curriculum Project in Northern Ireland and she also headed a major project on examining pedagogy in Early Childhood Education for the Department of Education in the Republic of Ireland. Her publications reflect her interest in curriculum and pedagogy, focusing in particular on resolving the dilemmas associated with play as learning and teaching in practice.