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This literature review looks at play in early childhood education and why play is important for early learners. The review looks at the history of play and the benefits that play has on brain development, as well as defining play. Adults play an important role in play, as does the early childhood learning environment. Early learners develop their critical thinking skills and their social and emotional skills through play. The curriculum that is offered to early learners should revolve around play but should ensure that they are being provided the opportunity to learn about the outdoors, math, reading, and all other areas of learning. Children should be able to meet benchmarks on assessments through play in the early childhood environment. Play is such an important part of a child’s early years, all persons that are involved in a child’s life should able to understand through research why play is important.