Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education-Higher Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Nancy DeFrance

Academic Year



Play-based learning is a teaching approach most commonly found in preschool classrooms. Recent research supports the use of play-based learning in primary classrooms. Different varieties of play-based learning can be found in primary classrooms around the world, but play in these settings has become less common in the United States. Historically, elementary education has gone from child-led activities to teacher-led instruction that focuses on rigorous academic tasks. This project focuses on guided-play. Guided-play provides students with developmentally appropriate, intrinsically motivating, and engaging activities to explore academic concepts. Teachers provide students with guidance and support throughout the process of guided-play. This project focuses on the implementation of guided-play in a first-grade classrooms. Elements of guided-play are used to incorporate existing content standards into a lesson that starts out as teacher-led and is developed into a lesson using child-guided and teacher-guided play.