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Vu, J. et al. (2015) The effects of in-service training on teachers’ beliefs and practices in children's play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Early childhood educators are often aware of the general importance of play in children's development; however, they are often less aware of how play can support both academic and social learning and what their own roles can be in children's play. In this study, we examined the effect that professional development training about play would have on early childhood teachers' beliefs about and practices in supporting play. Educators' beliefs did not change after training: they generally believed that play was relevant to both social and cognitive skill development and that play had many benefits both before and after their training. After training, teachers were more engaged with children during play and these roles were related to children's cognitive and social play categories. In a time of increasing academization of the early childhood years, these findings highlight the importance of providing professional development opportunities about play to early childhood professionals in order to remind and inform them of the important role that play can have in the early childhood curriculum.

Date:
January 2015
Volume:
23
Page/s:
444-460
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Functional play
  • Learning
  • Peers play
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Social play
  • Teacher/caregiver play
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:

Vygotsky, L. (1980) Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes (Book)

Abstract:

The great Russian psychologist L. S. Vygotsky has long been recognized as a pioneer in developmental psychology. But his theory of development has never been well understood in the West. Mind in Society corrects much of this misunderstanding. Carefully edited by a group of outstanding Vygotsky scholars, the book presents a unique selection of Vygotsky's important essays.

Author/s:
Date:
January 1980
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Walker, C. et al. (2013) Pretense and possibility—A theoretical proposal about the effects of pretend play on development: Comment on Lillard et al. (2013). (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The review by Lillard et al. (2013) highlighted the need for additional research to better clarify the nature of the relationship between pretend play and development. However, the authors did not provide a proposal for how to structure the direction of this future work. Here, we provide a possible framework for generating additional research. This theoretical proposal is based on recent computational approaches to cognition, in which counterfactual reasoning plays a central role in causal learning. We propose that pretend play initially emerges as a product of the cognitive mechanisms underlying human learning and then feeds back to become critical for enhancing the optimal functioning of these same processes. More specifically, we argue that pretending is in fact 1 of several forms of counterfactual reasoning, which is essential to causal cognition—and that the act of engaging in pretend scenarios may provide early opportunities to practice the skills that were initially responsible for its appearance. Here, we provide a brief overview of this theoretical framework, consider how these ideas may be integrated with the previous work covered in Lillard et al.'s (2013) review, and suggest some empirically testable questions to direct future directions.

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
139
Page/s:
40-44
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Literature review
  • Pretend play
  • Problem-solving
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Walker, C. et al. (2013) Pretense and possibility—A theoretical proposal about the effects of pretend play on development: Comment on Lillard et al. (2013) (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The review by Lillard et al. (2013) highlighted the need for additional research to better clarify the nature of the relationship between pretend play and development. However, the authors did not provide a proposal for how to structure the direction of this future work. Here, we provide a possible framework for generating additional research. This theoretical proposal is based on recent computational approaches to cognition, in which counterfactual reasoning plays a central role in causal learning. We propose that pretend play initially emerges as a product of the cognitive mechanisms underlying human learning and then feeds back to become critical for enhancing the optimal functioning of these same processes. More specifically, we argue that pretending is in fact 1 of several forms of counterfactual reasoning, which is essential to causal cognition—and that the act of engaging in pretend scenarios may provide early opportunities to practice the skills that were initially responsible for its appearance. Here, we provide a brief overview of this theoretical framework, consider how these ideas may be integrated with the previous work covered in Lillard et al.'s (2013) review, and suggest some empirically testable questions to direct future directions.

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
139
Page/s:
40-44
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Pretend play
  • Problem-solving
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Weisberg, D. (2015) Pretend play (Journal Article)

Title Pretend play
Abstract:

Pretend play is a form of playful behavior that involves nonliteral action. Although on the surface this activity appears to be merely for fun, recent research has discovered that children's pretend play has connections to important cognitive and social skills, such as symbolic thinking, theory of mind, and counterfactual reasoning. The current article first defines pretend play and then reviews the arguments and evidence for these three connections. Pretend play has a nonliteral correspondence to reality, hence pretending may provide children with practice with navigating symbolic relationships, which may strengthen their language skills. Pretend play and theory of mind reasoning share a focus on others' mental states in order to correctly interpret their behavior, hence pretending and theory of mind may be mutually supportive in development. Pretend play and counterfactual reasoning both involve representing nonreal states of affairs, hence pretending may facilitate children's counterfactual abilities. These connections make pretend play an important phenomenon in cognitive science: Studying children's pretend play can provide insight into these other abilities and their developmental trajectories, and thereby into human cognitive architecture and its development.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2015
Volume:
6
Page/s:
249-261
Synonyms:
  • Atypical development
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Language
  • Literature review
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
  • Symbolic play
Research discipline:

Weisberg, D. et al. (2013) Embracing complexity: Rethinking the relation between play and learning: Comment on Lillard et al. (2013) (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Lillard et al. (2013) concluded that pretend play is not causally related to child outcomes and charged that the field is subject to a play ethos, whereby research is tainted by a bias to find positive effects of play on child development. In this commentary, we embrace their call for a more solidly scientific approach to questions in this important area of study while offering 2 critiques of their analysis. First, we urge researchers to take a more holistic approach to the body of evidence on play and learning, rather than relying on piecemeal criticisms of individual studies, since positive effects of play on learning emerge despite the use of a variety of methods, contents, and experimental conditions. Second, we consider how best to study this topic in the future and propose moving away from traditional empirical approaches to more complicated statistical models and methods that will allow us to embrace the full variety and complexity of playful learning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
139
Page/s:
35-39
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Weisberg, D. et al. (2016) Which Counterfactuals Matter? A Response to Beck (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
40
Page/s:
257-259
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Literature review
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Welsh, M. et al. (1991) A normative‐developmental study of executive function: A window on prefrontal function in children (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Normative‐developmental performance on a battery of executive function tasks was investigated. Executive function was defined as goal‐directed behavior, including planning, organized search, and impulse control. Measures were drawn from clinical neuropsychology (visual search, verbal fluency, motor sequencing, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Task [WCST]) and from developmental psychology (Tower of Hanoi [TOH] and Matching Familiar Figures Test [MFFT]). A discriminant task, recognition memory, was administered, and IQ scores were available on a subset of the sample. One hundred subjects ranging from 3 to 12 years old participated; an adult group was also studied. Three major results were found: (a) adult‐level performance on different subsets of the executive function tasks was achieved at three different ages—6 years old, 10 years old, and adolescence; (b) the measures clustered into three different factors reflecting speeded responding, set maintenance, and planning; and (c) most of the executive function tasks were uncorrelated with IQ. The implications of these results for our understanding of the development of prefrontal lobe functions are discussed.

Date:
January 1991
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
7
Page/s:
131-149
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Self-regulation
  • Executive function
Research discipline:

White, R. et al. (2016) What would Batman do? (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This experimental research assessed the influence of graded levels of self-distancing – psychological distancing from one's egocentric perspective – on executive function (EF) in young children. Three- (n = 48) and 5-year-old (n = 48) children were randomly assigned to one of four manipulations of distance from the self (from proximal to distal: self-immersed, control, third person, and exemplar) on a comprehensive measure of EF. Performance increased as a function of self-distancing across age groups. Follow-up analyses indicated that 5-year-olds were driving this effect. They showed significant improvements in EF with increased distance from the self, outperforming controls both when taking a third person perspective on the self and when taking the perspective of an exemplar other (e.g., Batman) through role play. Three-year-olds, however, did not show increased EF performance as a function of greater distance from the self. Preliminary results suggest that developments in theory of mind might contribute to these age-related differences in efficacy. These findings speak to the importance of psychological distancing in the expression of conscious control over thought and action from a young age and suggest a promising new avenue for early EF intervention.

Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
19
Page/s:
419-426
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Pretend play
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Whitebread, D. (1996) The development of children's strategies on an inductive reasoning task (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This paper reports an analysis of children's cognitive strategies on an inductive reasoning task, by means of a new methodological approach. A sample of 72 children aged 6, 8 and 10 were presented with three different versions of a multidimensional discrimination learning task, which was presented in such a way as to ‘optimise’ their performance. Their responses were analysed in terms of 10 Strategy Components, scores on which were analysed by means of cluster analysis. Overall, the children performed at more sophisticated levels than previously found. Five Strategy Clusters representing distinct patterns of strategic behaviour were revealed. A developmental sequence was established between these patterns of strategic behaviour and, significantly, two alternative developmental routes relating to strategic style. While the results support a complex model of strategy construction, as revealed by recent research, the distinct nature of the Strategy Clusters points to a discontinuous model of strategy development. This evidence of children's differing abilities to construct and select appropriate strategies in relation to a novel task strongly supports the educational imperative of encouraging children's early use and awareness of cognitive strategies.

Author/s:
Date:
January 1996
Volume:
66
Page/s:
1-21
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-regulation
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline: