Rhetorics of Play in Kindergarten Programs in an Era of Accountability

Shelly Stagg Peterson, Dianna Riehl


In this paper we conduct a deductive analysis, using Sutton-Smith's “rhetorics of play,” of the published kindergarten programs that have guided Ontario kindergarten teaching since 1944. Our analysis is used to gain an understanding of how we in Ontario have arrived at a point where play-based learning has been taken up by developers of the provincial kindergarten program and approved as a pedagogical focus by politicians. The predominant discourses appear to have changed from a romantic view of play as a natural, child-centered activity, to a discourse of play as progress, with an emphasis on the developmental benefits of play and learning outcomes of play. We believe that the use of the rhetoric of play as progress has been key to the continued prominence of play in Ontario kindergarten programs. It represents ideologies of schooling to which policy-makers seem to be attuned in this era of accountability.

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p. 22

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.26522/brocked.v25i2.498

Dolana Mogadime
Editor, Brock Education
Faculty of Education, Brock University
Contact Editor ISSN 23717750

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