Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2021


The purpose of this literature review is to demonstrate the value of play-based learning in early childhood classrooms and encourage educators and policy-makers to focus more on this developmentally appropriate practice of learning through play in early childhood classrooms. The findings of this literature review are that play is an essential component in all areas of child development. The reviewed research suggests play and academic and social development are closely linked and indicate success in the areas of 21st century skills, literacy and language, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. The conclusion of this review includes recommendations for implementation of play-based learning and how it can work alongside intentional teaching practices to provide a well-rounded education to students in early childhood classrooms.