Exploring Early Childhood Education Teachers' Play-Based Learning Pedagogical Practices in Zambia

  • Collins Kaluba University of Zambia
  • Bibian Kalinde University of Zambia
  • Robinson Mambwe University of Zambia
  • Noah Sichula University of Zambia
  • Naomi Njobvu University of Zambia
Keywords: Curriculum, Early Child Education, Incorporation, Play-based Learning, Pedagogical Practices


Although learning takes place throughout life, that which occurs during childhood will never be equaled (UNICEF, 2018). Play is a legitimate right in early childhood (Smith, 2013) and one of the most natural pathways to exploration and learning (Saskatchewan, 2018). However, although play is a legitimate right way of learning in Zambia (MOGE 2013), in practice its implementation varies from school to school (Lungu, 2023). This study explored the play-based pedagogies related to play-based learning of ECE teachers in Zambia and their preparedness to use play as a teaching technique. The study employed a concurrent or convergent parallel mixed-method design. A total of 30 ECE teachers across three districts of Zambia participated in this study. One-to-one interviews were used to collect qualitative data, while structured questionnaires were used to collect quantitative data for the study. Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 was used to generate descriptive statistics while qualitative data was analysed using content analysis. The findings revealed that a considerable portion (83%) of ECE teachers perceived their training as sufficient for teaching using play-based pedagogies, but a notable minority expressed the need for more effective training and support in this regard. Further, the findings revealed that PBL was widely incorporated in ECE in Zambia. Among the commonly employed PBL pedagogical practices, teachers consistently incorporated elements such as games, role plays and dramatic play, storytelling, outdoor activities, individual work, pair work, group work, demonstrations, as well as rhymes and songs. However, the study noted a concern about the connectedness of play activity with the content of the day. It was observed that there was no connectedness between play activities and the content of the day. In addition, learning was not captivating enough as teachers were not so creative in using play as a vehicle to deliver curriculum content to the learners. These findings have crucial implications for the enhancement of ECE in Zambia. They underscore the value of competency, focused Continuing Professional Development programmes, creative teaching approaches, diversification of play activities, and the intentional alignment of PBL with curriculum content.
How to Cite
Kaluba, C., Kalinde, B., Mambwe, R., Sichula, N. and Njobvu, N. (2024) “Exploring Early Childhood Education Teachers’ Play-Based Learning Pedagogical Practices in Zambia”, Journal of Law and Social Sciences, 5(4), pp. 21-42. doi: https://doi.org/10.53974/unza.jlss.5.4.1163.

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