This project aims to investigate caregiver learning about the provision of children’s play in the home and community by conceptualising learning as an activity enacted within the social situation of community playgroups and affiliated social media. This project expects to generate new knowledge of caregiver learning in this context using the sociocultural concept of learning activity. Expected outcomes include new theorised knowledge for integrating community playgroups and social media for caregiver learning about play. This knowledge should provide significant benefits for caregivers in the provision of play for the betterment of children’s educational outcomes.


  • Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award $369,996



Project Aim

Community playgroups involve caregivers in the voluntary participation of play with their children in localised community settings. Caregivers in community groups are increasingly using social media to plan what they will do with children and to document playgroup activities online for concurrent and later sharing with each other. This project is funded by the Australian Research Council (DECRA) and aims to provide new theorised knowledge of caregiver learning about play within the context of community playgroups and social media use.

Selected Bibliography

  • Evangelou, M., & Wild, M. (2014) Connecting home and educational play: interventions that support children’s learning. In L. Brooker, M. Blaise & S. Edwards (Eds.), The Sage handbook of play and learning in early childhood (pp. 376-390). London, UK: SAGE Publications.
  • Hancock, K., Cunningham, N., Lawrence, D., Zarb, D., & Zubrick, S. (2015). Playgroup participation and social support outcomes for mothers of young children: A longitudinal cohort study. PLoS ONE, 10(7), e0133007.
  • McLean, K., Edwards, S., Evangelou, M., Skouteris, H., Harrison, L.J., Hemphill, S.A., Sullivan, P., & Lambert, P. (2017). Playgroups as sites for parental education. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 15(3), 227-237.
  • McLean, K., Edwards, S., Morris, H. (2017). Community playgroup social media and parental learning about play. Computers & Education, 115, 201-210.
  • Mize, J., & Pettit, G.S. (2010) The mother-child playgroup as socialisation context. Early Child Development and Care 180(10),1271–1284.
  • Repkin, V.V. (2003). Developmental teaching and learning activity. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 41(5), 10–33.
  • Sammons, P., Toth, K., Sylva, K., Melhuish., E, Siraj, I., Taggart, B. (2015) The long-term role of the in shaping students’ academic attainment in secondary school, Journal of Children’s Services, 10(3) 189-201.

Useful Links for Educators and Families

Project Findings

The study commences in 2018. Publications and reports will be posted in this section as they become available.


November 15, 2017

Chief Investigator/s

Dr Karen McLean

Research Status




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