This paper presents findings from The Irish Neighbourhood Play Project; a research study initiated by IT Sligo and Early Childhood Ireland in 2012. The focus of this paper is on the data section which highlights children’s play choices and opportunities across socio-economic communities. The study incorporated almost 1800 families across 240 communities. Data was collected within disadvantaged communities, middle class communities and affluent communities. Where and what children are playing was investigated. The choices children and families make within play have a direct effect on the developing brain of the young child (Acar & Torquati, 2015). This, in turn, affects school performance and engagement. Choices however, are often framed by opportunities; opportunities are framed by government policy and investment in community facilities as well as socio-cultural norms. The data from this project shows that children across socio-economic divides are engaging in dramatically different play, experiences and activities. Key differences also emerged in relation to how children in diverse communities are engaging with technology. The differences across multiple themes are startling and offer insights into the breadth of childhood experience across the Island of Ireland.

©IATED (2017). Reproduced in Research Online with permission.


The Irish Neighbourhood Play Study, play, early childhood education, socio-economic differences, disadvantage, affluence, opportunity

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