The inaugural Australian Symposium on Play and launch of the Play Research Network

| 15 Nov 2019

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On 15 November 2019, the Gonski Institute for Education hosted the inaugural Australian Symposium on Play. The event also saw the launch of our international Play Research Network.

The symposium provided a unique and powerful opportunity for the nation’s leading researchers to discuss the role of play in education and to map the Australian landscape of play-based research.

Gonski Institute Director of Research, Professor Pasi Sahlberg, opened the symposium and Professor Anthony Okely (University of Wollongong and Director of Research at Early Start) provided a keynote address on physical activity - as an important part of childhood being lost.

A complete list of researchers and their presentations is provided below.


Theme: Play Curriculum and Play Pedagogy

  • Co-constructing play curriculum with children

Dr Carmen Huser, School of Education, Charles Sturt University

  • Co-Constructed integrated pedagogies for engagement at school: Learner choice & voice in playful learning

Dr Jane Webb-Williams, School of Education, University of South Australia

  • Work, play and children's agency in the Queensland Prep Year

Dr LyndaI O'Gorman, Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology

  • Take the class outside: A call for play

Amanda Lloyd, Outdoors NSW


Theme: Play and child development

  • Following in our Footsteps intervention: Learning hard skills through play

Dr Yeshe Colliver, Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie University

  • Learning Through Play paper by ACER and LEGO Foundation

Rachel Parker, Australian Council for Educational Research

  • The role of imagination in peer play

Dr Gloria Quinones Goytortua, Faculty of Education, Monash University


Theme: Play based learning

  • The State of Play Based Learning in WA schools

Dr Sandra Hesterman, College of Science, Health, Engineering and Education, Murdoch University

  • Play-based learning in Junior Primary

A/ Prof Jenny Jay, Curtin University y & Dr Marianne Knaus, Edith Cowan University

  • The interactions of school teachers with children's play

Dr Brendon Hyndman, School of Education, Charles Sturt University

  • Parents learning about play in community playgroups and social media

Dr Karen McLean, Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University


Theme: Playful spaces

  • Are playgrounds too safe?

Dr Shirley Wyver, Department of Educational Studies, Macquarie University

  • Designing inclusive play environments for children with all abilities: Importance and challenges

A/ Prof Kate Bishop, Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales

  • Designing for serious play in secondary school environments

Fiona Young, Hayball Architects

  • The hidden value of outdoor school environments for children's self-directed play

Dr Fatemeh Aminpour, Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales


The day concluded with an interactive session presented by Dr Bo Stjerne Thomsen, Head of the LEGO Foundation Centre for Creativity, Play and Learning.

A special thanks to those researchers who travelled, made the effort to join us virtually and present from a distance.

More information about joining the international Play Research Network will be available online soon.

Play Symposium
Play Symposium 1


Play Symposium 2