Ju Lim
Education, Early Learning, Elementary Education, Language Education (ESL)
Material Type:
Teaching/Learning Strategy
Preschool, Lower Primary, Upper Primary, Community College / Lower Division, College / Upper Division, Graduate, Career / Technical, Professional Educator
PK, K, 1, 2, 3
  • Academic
  • Early Childhood
  • Elementary
  • Play
  • Play-based
  • Social and Emotional Education
  • Video
  • mathematics
    Creative Commons Attribution
    English, Spanish
    Media Formats:
    Audio, Interactive, Text/HTML, Video, Other

    Play Video Library

    Play Video Library


    Play Video Library is a great resource website for professionals to know more about what play is and how play can be an excellent medium for teaching and learning.

    Play Video Library

    What is Play?

    How does play benefit young children’s learning and development?

    How can teachers support a variety of play types?


    Traditionally, play has been at the heart of early childhood education. A growing number of studies show the educational and developmental benefits of play for children in the early years[1]. However, play is disappearing from many K and 4K classrooms with the pressure of ensuring children’s academic readiness. But what if we didn’t think of play and learning as mutually exclusive?


    Recent studies suggest that it would be more productive to think of play as a spectrum that ranges from open-ended free play to play guided by the teacher.  These researchers argue that young children can learn academic content more effectively through high-quality play and play-based teaching than teacher-directed instruction[2]. From this perspective, removing play from K and 4K classrooms would be counterproductive if we are interested in supporting academic AND social-emotional development.


    The Wisconsin Readiness Equity Network (WREN), a partnership of the school districts of Kenosha, Madison, Milwaukee, and Racine, UW researchers, and DPI specialists in early childhood education came together to address this issue.  Beth Graue from UW-Madison and her research team video recorded K and 4K classrooms in WREN districts and developed the Play Video Library website. There are video examples of high-quality play and play-based teaching across academic-learning/development domains and resources for educators in this Library. The Library is searchable by play type, content, age, and district so that you can find exactly what you want.


    We’re hoping the Play Video Library will be a great resource website for professionals to know more about what play is and how play can be an excellent medium for teaching and learning.

    To access the Play Video Library, please request a login at

    Request access to the Play Video Library

    If you have any questions, please contact us at


    [1] Vygotsky, L. S. (1967). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. Soviet psychology,5(3), 6-18.; Weisberg, D. S., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Golinkoff, R. M., Kittredge, A. K., & Klahr, D. (2016). Guided play: Principles and practices. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(3), 177–182.

    [2] Pyle, A., & Danniels, E. (2017) A continuum of play-based learning: The role of the teacher in play-based pedagogy and the fear of hijacking play. Early Education and Development, 28(3), 274-289; Zosh, J. M., Hirsh-Pasek, K., Hopkins,E. J., Jensen, H., Liu, C., Neale, D., ... Whitebread, D. (2018). Accessing the inaccessible: Redefining play as a spectrum. Frontiers in Psychology, 9.