The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Active Play All Day: An Evaluation of Professional Development Training on Children’s Indoor and Outdoor Play

Katherine Spring, Pennington Biomedical Research Center (United States)

Lauren Cherry, Pennington Biomedical Research Center (United States)

Melissa Martin, Pennington Biomedical Research Center (United States)

Amanda Staiano, Pennington Biomedical Research Center (United States)


Maria Montessori is credited with the idea that “play is the work of children” [1]. Despite the importance of active play in a child’s development [2-3], early childcare educators often feel that play detracts from “academic time” [4]. Therefore, there is a need for professional development opportunities targeting indoor and outdoor active play. Experts in children’s physical activity and education at Louisiana State University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center created a series of professional trainings for early childhood educators that are based on scientific evidence and NAP SACC best practices designed to equip teachers with knowledge and strategies to increase active play in children. Prior to implementing these trainings throughout the state of Louisiana, the research team conducted a series of Lunch and Learns to pilot the trainings. Attendees, who were predominantly early childhood education teachers, completed a knowledge assessment before and after the training and provided feedback. Results indicated that teachers significantly improved knowledge regarding indoor play best practices (p = 0.015) but did not change in Outdoor play knowledge (p = 0.257). Attendees reported that the most important topic in the trainings was information regarding the importance of outdoor play in children’s learning and ways to modify the indoor play environment. Attendees suggested providing more interactive activities for trainees and providing handouts. Following these trainings, adjustments were made to both the Indoor and Outdoor trainings to prepare for widescale dissemination. Future evaluations will include assessing changes resulting from the trainings on teaching practices, classroom environments, and children’s behaviors related to engagement in active play.


Keywords: Early Childcare Education, Active Play


[1]          "What is Montessori? 7 Principles of the Montessori Method." Montessori up. (accessed 2024).

[2]          G. S. Ashiabi, "Play in the preschool classroom: Its socioemotional significance and the teacher’s role in play," Early Childhood Education Journal, vol. 35, pp. 199-207, 2007.

[3]          S. Shaheen, "How child's play impacts executive function–related behaviors," Applied Neuropsychology: Child, vol. 3, no. 3, pp. 182-187, 2014.

[4]          M. E. Logue and H. Harvey, "Preschool teachers' views of active play," Journal of Research in Childhood Education, vol. 24, no. 1, pp. 32-49, 2009.

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