Understanding the power, the possibilities and the challenges of the ‘whatever you want it to be place’ within the early years
Chapter 1 talked about ‘the complexity of play’, as indeed do many publications on play. It explored the notion that one of the reasons why it is challenging for high status to be given to play is because those complexities are difficult to convey in a simple way. Play looks simple; expert players make it looks easy and that is in part because, in the right kind of environment, the learning is masked by the pleasure and engagement of those play experiences that are initiated by children to chime with their own themes, interests, experiences and cultural familiarities. By the same token, play is a social activity for much of the time, subject to the influence of many variables; because of this, play narratives and engagements are difficult to ‘capture’ through research. We hope that these rich, qualitative vignettes, with child and adult commentaries and interpretation, are helpful in supporting these concluding comments.