How you can build your understanding of digital play pedagogy with ease

By Michael Hilkemeijer


Digital play is the best form of technology integration in early childhood education and so it makes sense that you ensure that the best pedagogical practices are implemented. In this section, you will learn more about digital play based pedagogy in early childhood education so that you can support technological learning and development in your early learning environment today.


In this article, I will discuss:

  1. What is early childhood pedagogy?
  2. What is play based pedagogy?
  3. What is play based pedagogy in relation to the use of digital technology in early childhood education?



What is Early Childhood Pedagogy?

To define pedagogy in early childhood education means to understand the holistic practices of a teacher in areas such as curriculum decision-making, teaching and learning as well as of their professional practices that encompass nurturing and building relationships with children and families (EYLF, 2020).


The four aspects of an early childhood teacher’s professional judgement which help constitute their pedagogy in early childhood include:

  • Professional knowledge and skills;
  • Knowledge of children, families and communities;
  • Awareness of how their believes and values impact on children’s learning and;
  • Personal styles and past experiences.


What is Play based learning pedagogy?

Today, there is strong evidence that tells us that young children learn best through play based learning when they are actively engaged, interacting and co-constructing learning with others. The importance of learning through play has been something which I have earlier discussed. However, when discussing play based learning pedagogy it is important to remember that it is about supporting young children when they are experimenting and learning through play.


It involves you as a teacher constructing opportunities for play based learning within the learning program, making connections to the curriculum, modelling and supporting and generating play to include the use of socio-dramatic activities for example.



What is digital play based learning pedagogy?

Play based learning pedagogy in relation to digital technology involves young children enhancing their learning and development by exploratory playing with digital technology. For example, they become familiar with how the different functions of digital technology operates when they take digital photographs.


For you as an educator, it means supporting the use of digital technology in early childhood education with evidence based teaching strategies that connects this use of digital devices to the curriculum whilst facilitating the development of ICT capability in early childhood education.


It is an instructional choice which involves planning and the careful consideration of young children’s ICT capability in a responsive manner.


Early childhood pedagogy therefore, involves you joining in with the play as well as making the decisions in relation to how, when and for what period of time can children use digital technologies. It includes making the connections between the available digital technology and the needs of the child’s learning and development and modelling the decision-making of use and non-use of digital technologies in order to balance their learning experiences.