Research on child-directed centers

Why play-based learning?

This short article defining play-based learning outlines strategies for fostering a play-based learning environment.

Constructive Play: A Value-Added Strategy for Meeting Early Learning Standards

The authors present three principles to explain why developmentally appropriate constructive play is ideal for meeting early learning standards.

Preschool Experience in 10 countries: Cognitive and Language Performance at Age 7

This longitudinal study included preschool students from 10 countries and identified how process and structuralcharacteristics of the preschool settings at age 4 are related to their age 7 cognitive and language performance. The study concluded that children in settings where free choice activities predominated had significantly better language performance at age 7.

Science in Support of Play: The Case for Play-Based Preschool Programs

This article summarizes several research studies on play-based learning and discusses the direct and indirect effects of play on student development including language and social-emotional impact. The conclusion defends play-based instruction over direct instruction in preschool, but positions that play-based instruction needs planned structure and support. This source is a white paper from the CECE and not from a peer-reviewed source.

Play: An Important Tool for Cognitive Development

This online newsletter provides a series of articles on the legitimacy and validity of child-initiated play in young children's lives and addresses the basics of executive function to help the teacher become more intentional in planning and supporting children's play.

Motivating Learning in Young Children

This online article has basic information on a child's motivational stages for caregivers. Children who have been allowed choice in activities display higher levels of intrinsic motivation. They typically demonstrate higher levels of concentration and persistence, are more likely to choose challenging tasks, show less dependence on adults, and display more satisfaction with their work.


The following articles and sources are from a web search for information on the importance of child-directed learning. All sources are from year 2005+. The search produced more articles and research on the topic, but due to copyright law or charges for access, we intentionally included only articles that could be accessed for free on the internet.