Nelson Higher Education

Higher Education

Supporting Play in Early Childhood: Environment, Curriculum, Assessment, 2nd Edition

  • Dorothy Justus Sluss, Ph.D.
  • ISBN-10: 1285735153
  • ISBN-13: 9781285735153
  • 368 Pages | Paperback
  • Previous Editions: 2005
  • COPYRIGHT: 2015 Published
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About the Product

Supporting Play in Early Childhood: Environment, Curriculum, Assessment, Second Edition, is based on the premise that play should guide curriculum development because children learn through play. With a focus on why and how to teach children through play, this text is aimed at educating current and future teachers of children from birth through age eight. It reviews current research about play in young children and examines how play benefits their social/emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Readers learn how to implement a play-based program for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarten children, and primary-age children, including specifics for setting up a classroom to encourage play. Recommendations for facilitating play with special needs children are included throughout the text and in a separate chapter.


  • The material is divided into age-appropriate sections for ease and accessibility.

  • Instruction on assessing a child's learning through play leads to making play a more viable teaching mechanism.

  • Various activities in each chapter--InClass Lab, Research and Inquiry, Service Learning, Family Connections, and Play Advocacy--offer teachers a variety of options beyond the text and the classroom.

  • A PlayScape Case Study at the beginning of each chapter puts students in a situation that they or the families they work with might encounter. PlayScape Reflections at the end of the chapter allow students to reflect on the material covered in the chapter and how it applies to the PlayScape Case Study.


:"This text is about purposeful play in the life of the young child and how to implement it, support it, and assess it. It is chocked full of theoretical supports that are best practices, and it shows how to implement them. Check it out. . . . You'll appreciate what you find inside, and our students need it."
— Deborah Farrer, California University of Pennsylvania

About the Author

Dorothy Justus Sluss, Ph.D.

Dorothy Louise Justus Sluss is a Professor at James Madison University, where she teaches and studies play, creativity, and inquiry. She discovered the power of play for young children when she started her career in a kindergarten classroom. This experience inspired her to devote the rest of her life trying to understand how children think, learn, and play. To this end, she spent 15 years teaching in public schools and 15 years teaching in higher education. Professor Sluss has had a variety of experiences in inclusion, private and public preschool, and elementary education. Since entering higher education, she has been active in publishing, teaching, and providing professional development. She has also served as a national leader of several professional groups and has received numerous awards for research and scholarship.

Table of Contents

1. Valuing Play.
2. Play as Development.
3. Observation and Assessment.
4. Supporting Play for Infants and Toddlers.
5. Supporting Play for Preschool Children.
6. Supporting Play in Kindergarten Classrooms.
7. Supporting Play in Primary School.
8. Supporting Play for Children in Middle Childhood.
9. Supporting Play for Children with Special Needs.
10. Outdoor Play for Young Children.
11. Current Trends and Issues.

New to this edition

  • Learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter correlate with main headings within the chapter and the Summary at the end of the chapter. The objectives highlight what students need to know to process and understand the information in the chapter. After completing the chapter, students should be able to demonstrate how they can use and apply their new knowledge and skills.
  • TeachSource Video boxes introduce and highlight footage of classroom settings (viewable on Early Childhood Education CourseMate) to help students relate key chapter content to real-life scenarios. Critical-thinking questions provide opportunities for in-class or online discussion and reflection.
  • Digital Downloads icons identify forms, important lists, and other information found in the text that can be downloaded from CourseMate and printed out for use them in the classroom or to review key concepts.
  • Did You Get It? quizzes at the end of each major heading help students measure their performance against the learning objectives in each chapter. One question for each learning objective is featured in the textbook. Students are encouraged to go to to take the full quiz, and check their understanding of each chapter.
  • This edition emphasizes national standards from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Council for Exceptional Children-Division of Early Childhood, helping students make connections between what they are learning in the text and the standards. The standards are covered at the beginning of each chapter (Standards Covered in This Chapter), throughout the text with icons that indicate where standards-related content is found, and in a Standards Correlation Chart on the inside front and back covers, which provides a complete list of the standards throughout the book.
  • Chapter 3, "Observing and Assessing Play," reflects the increased emphasis on using data to inform practice.
  • A new Ask the Expert feature introduces practitioners and experts in the field who delve deeper into a specific topic in each chapter.


All supplements have been updated in coordination with the Main title.
Please see Main title page for new to this edition information.

Instructor Supplements

Online Instructor's Manual with Test Bank  (ISBN-10: 1285742060 | ISBN-13: 9781285742069)

An online Instructor's Manual accompanies this book. It contains information to assist the instructor in designing the course, including sample syllabi, discussion questions, teaching and learning activities, field experiences, learning objectives, and additional online resources. For assessment support, the updated Test Bank includes true/false, multiple-choice, matching, short-answer, and essay questions for each chapter.

Online PowerPoint®  (ISBN-10: 1285742087 | ISBN-13: 9781285742083)

These vibrant, Microsoft® PowerPoint® lecture slides for each chapter assist you with your lecture by providing concept coverage using images, figures, and tables directly from the textbook.

CourseMate, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1285742222 | ISBN-13: 9781285742229)

Cengage Learning's new Early Childhood Education CourseMate brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study, and exam preparation tools that support the printed textbook. Students can access a new integrated eBook, Digital Downloads, flashcards, TeachSource Videos and other videos, and more. Also new is Engagement Tracker, a first-of-its-kind tool that allows you to monitor student engagement in the course. The accompanying instructor website, available through, offers access to password-protected resources such as PowerPoint® lecture slides and the online Instructor's Manual with Test Bank.

Student Supplements

CourseMate, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1285742222 | ISBN-13: 9781285742229)

Cengage Learning's new Early Childhood Education CourseMate brings course concepts to life with interactive learning, study, and exam preparation tools that support the printed textbook. Access a new eBook, Digital Downloads, flashcards, TeachSource Videos and other videos, and more. Access Early Childhood Education CourseMate through

LMS Integrated for CourseMate, 1 term (6 months) Instant Access  (ISBN-10: 1305072359 | ISBN-13: 9781305072350)