Original Research

Strengthening early childhood teacher education towards a play-based pedagogical approach through a music intervention programme

Alta J. van As, Lorayne Excell
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 8, No 1 | a525 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v8i1.525 | © 2018 Aletta J. van As, Lorayne Excell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 February 2017 | Published: 29 November 2018

About the author(s)

Alta J. van As, Music Education, Foundation Studies Division, Wits School of Education, South Africa
Lorayne Excell, Wits School of Education, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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Background: Music as one of the creative arts offers an ideal vehicle to implement alternative teaching and learning strategies, including the implementation of purposeful but playful pedagogies that are increasingly being acknowledged as the most appropriate way of teaching young children. However, within higher educational institutions, it is becoming more difficult to develop sufficient content knowledge and confidence in student teachers to teach playfully through music. Students being unaware of playful music strategies favour ‘desk bound’ methodologies.

Aim: This article explores a music intervention aimed to deepen students’ understanding of and ability to teach playfully through music and reflects on a shift in students’ understandings and perceptions in response to the intervention.

Setting: This article reports on the first 2 years of a music intervention programme which was offered to second-year early childhood education students studying for their BEd degree.

Methods: The research design is both qualitative and quantitative in nature. It explores how students experience challenges with music education and to explain the nature of these challenges. We outline a music intervention programme designed to deepen student teachers’ understanding, ability and confidence to teach playfully through music. We made use of questionnaires, interviews and observations to explore the success of this intervention programme.

Results: These showed that students’ were positive, showing that students deepened their insights and increased their confidence to teach playfully through music.

Conclusion: In conclusion, the authors show that well-considered music education offers a viable way to enhance a playful approach to teaching and learning in the early years.


Pedagogy of play; music education; music methodologies; early childhood education; pedagogical content knowledge


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Crossref Citations

1. ¿Jugar o aprender? El aprendizaje lúdico en la formación musical del maestro
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Revista Electrónica Complutense de Investigación en Educación Musical - RECIEM  vol: 18  first page: 83  year: 2021  
doi: 10.5209/reciem.67853