‘We call this “play”, however…’: Navigating ‘play anxiety’ in early childhood education and care markets

Christopher Drew

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Neoliberal rationalities predicated on consumer choice and market forces have increasingly positioned parents as consumers in early childhood and care markets. In this context, providers jostle to attract clientele by providing pathways through and around a milieu of parental anxieties and ambitions for their children. This article examines a chief marketing document – the early childhood education and care provider’s website – and reflects on the ways providers address parental ‘play anxiety’ in marketised times. It finds that differing and even contradictory discursive ideals about children’s risky, risk averse and guided play move in and out of the texts in ways that work to appeal to parents’ anxieties and desires. The emergence of a mosaic of differing discourses of play in marking texts highlights the complexities and contradictions that come with early childhood education and care provision, parenting and growing up in marketised neoliberal times.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)116-128
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
    Volume17
    Issue number2
    Early online date31 Oct 2018
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2019

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