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Unit information: Play and Creativity in 2021/22

Unit name Play and Creativity
Unit code SPOL30077
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Debbie Watson
Open unit status Not open

Completion of:

Either SPOL10024

Or SPOL10023



School/department School for Policy Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

All children play and this engaging unit explores the importance of play and creativity to all children's learning, development and leisure experiences from babies to teenagers. Sociocultural, poststructural and psychological theories will be considered. You will also get the chance to conduct observations of children in real life settings as well as taking part in a creative workshop.

The contexts in which play and creativity occur for children will also be considered in respect of educational and wider play provisions. Attention will be paid to innovative theorists and curricula approaches and to contemporary theories of play, and the ways in which children engage with popular cultures, new media technologies, public space, and the importance of children’s cultural worlds. . The impact of government policy and contemporary curricula on children's play and creativity will be considered. Underpinning the unit will be a consideration of how we observe and assess children and engage in creative enterprises with children; as well as how we can respond to diversity, equity, quality and ethical practice in providing for children in these areas.

By the end of this unit students should be familiar with:

  • Different theoretical understandings of play, its purposes and the forms it can take;
  • Appreciate that play and creativity are lifelong pursuits;
  • The role of creativity and play in children’s learning and leisure pursuits, including the impact of new technologies and gaming;
  • The challenges of independent free play/ children’s mobilities and health impacts;
  • How children use space in urban environments;
  • |The impact of home cultures on play preferences and activities for children;
  • Theories of learning and knowledge (ways of knowing) in the contexts of play & creativity;
  • Ways of responding to diversity and working with children in respectful and ethical ways;
  • The individuals and theoretical perspectives that have, and continue to, contribute to our understandings of the importance of play and creativity to children’s learning, wellbeing and development;
  • A range of innovative educational and play provisions that focus on the importance of play and creativity in the UK and internationally;
  • Methods and tools that practitioners can develop to observe, assess, enter into dialogue and document children’s play, creativity and learning.
  • Models of play and creativity that are drawn from education and playwork.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By the end of this unit students should be able to:

  1. Plan child observations based on an understanding of the possible data collection and recording methods
  2. Conduct short observations of a young child in an early year’s setting following agreed ethical processes
  3. Articulate the importance of play and creativity from a range of theoretical perspectives
  4. Engage in multimodal ways of learning and understand the value of creativity in their own learning
  5. Engage in reflection on their learning

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through belended learning involving a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, inlcuding weekly lectures, practical activities supported by study-group sessions and self-directed exercises including practising research observation skills. The narrated power point presentations will cover conceptual and theoretical aspects of play and creativity theories and practices as well as consideration of the research evidence. In-depth extended learning will take the form of self-paced, materail delivered electronically, and undertaken individually or in groups and involving elements of tutor feedback. This will involve students engaging in their own creative making activity which will be incorporated into their portfolio assessment. Small group exercises will be used to foster collaborative learning. Feedback will be provided for formal asessments, preparation for which will be supported through online activities and in study group sessions with tutors.

Assessment Information

Part 1: Child observation proposal (1000 words) (25%)

This assessment covers ILO's 1&2

Part 2: Portfolio (2000 words) (75%)

This assessment covers ILO's 3-5


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. SPOL30077).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.