Parent practices of co-play in a community playgroup

MPhil Thesis

Chu, Poh Yoke. (2021). Parent practices of co-play in a community playgroup [MPhil Thesis]. Australian Catholic University Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education
AuthorsChu, Poh Yoke
TypeMPhil Thesis
Qualification nameMaster of Philosophy

Playgroups are a universal form of early childhood provision that offer opportunities for families to learn and develop through informal play activities and social interaction. Parents are supported in their role by trained playgroup coordinators at supported playgroups who also organise play activities for children’s learning. Community playgroups are self-managed and run by the attending parents. Families voluntarily attend community playgroups, and parents remain on-site with their children throughout the session each week. Despite the parents’ key involvement, little is known about parents’ practices of co-play in community playgroups. This thesis is a study of parents’ co-play practices in a community playgroup. The aim of the study is to identify what parents’ co-play practices are, and the factors that enabled and constrained their practices. Using an ethnographic methodology, field observations and informal interviews were conducted with six parents in one community playgroup located in metropolitan Melbourne, in relation to their co-play practices. Framed by the practice architectures theory (Kemmis & Grootenboer, 2008), this study investigated the parents’ sayings, doings and relatings to uncover the co-play practices, and the enablers and constraints on those practices. The findings identified the parents’ guiding and participating co-play practices, and that those practices were enabled and constrained by the practice architectures of cultural-discursive, material-economic and social-political arrangements such as the parents’ knowledge about their child’s likes or dislikes, the toys provided at the community playgroup, and the parents’ beliefs about their role. The study’s findings theorised that the parents’ sayings, doings and relatings enacted different combinations of co-play practices that described the parents’ involvement with their children’s play in the community playgroup. This study thus contributes knowledge towards how parents are involved with their child’s play in community playgroups, which may be used as suggestions to increase parents’ involvement with children’s play.

Keywordsplaygroups; parent involvement; co-play; practice architectures theory
PublisherAustralian Catholic University
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Page range1-202
Final version
File Access Level
Supplementary Files (Layperson Summary)
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online24 Nov 2021
Publication process dates
CompletedApr 2021
Deposited24 Nov 2021
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