skip to content

Click here to search our resources

PEDAL Hub: Resource Library

Definition

Marcon, R. (1999) Differential impact of preschool models on development and early learning of inner-city children: A three-cohort study (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Three different preschool models operating in an urban school district were identified through cluster analysis of teacher responses to the Pre-K Survey of Beliefs and Practices. The language, self-help, social, motor, and adaptive development, along with mastery of basic skills, of 721 4-year-olds randomly selected from these models were compared. Children in the child-initiated model demonstrated greater mastery of basic skills than did children in programs in which academics were emphasized and skills were taught. Children in the combination model did significantly poorer on all measures except self-help and development of social coping skills compared with children in either the child-initiated or academically directed models. Girls outperformed boys in all areas except gross motor development and play and leisure skills. Implications for educational policymakers are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Author/s:
Date:
January 1999
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
35
Page/s:
358-375
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Language
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
Relevant age group/s:

McGuinness, C. et al. (2014) Impact of a play-based curriculum in the first two years of primary school: literacy and numeracy outcomes over seven years (Journal Article)

Abstract:

In 2000–2002 an innovative early years curriculum, the Enriched Curriculum (EC), was introduced into 120 volunteer schools across Northern Ireland, replacing a traditional curriculum similar to others across the UK at that time. It was intended by the designers to be developmentally appropriate and play-based with the primary goal of preventing the experience of persistent early failure in children. The EC was not intended to be a literacy and numeracy intervention, yet it did considerably alter pedagogy in these domains, particularly the age at which formal reading and mathematics instruction began. As part of a multi-method evaluation running from 2000–2008, the research team followed the primary school careers of the first two successive cohorts of EC children, comparing them with year-ahead controls attending the same 24 schools. Compared to the year-ahead control group, the findings show that the EC children's reading and mathematics scores fell behind in the first two years but the majority of EC children caught up by the end of their fourth year. Thereafter, the performance of the first EC cohort fell away slightly, while that of the second continued to match that of controls. Overall, the play-based curriculum had no statistically significant positive effects on reading and mathematics in the medium term. At best, the EC children's scores matched those of controls.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
40
Page/s:
772-795
Synonyms:
  • Academic achievement
  • Academic outcomes
  • Literacy
  • Longitudinal
  • Numeracy
  • Playful learning
Relevant age group/s:

McInnes, K. et al. (2009) Behavioural differences exhibited by children when practising a task under formal and playful conditions (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Play is viewed as central to learning in the early years despite a lack of empirical evidence to support this. Most research has concentrated on adult definitions of play which fail to capture the intrinsic quality of playfulness. To achieve this it is necessary to elicit children's definitions of play. The research discussed in this paper utilises children's definitions of play to create formal and playful practice conditions to demonstrate the links between playfulness and learning. In addition, analysis of videotaped observations indicates behavioural differences according to whether children participate in playful or formal practice conditions. These findings support a behavioural threshold and fluency theory of play. Children in the playful condition exhibited more fluent and purposeful problem solving behaviours than children in the formal condition. Implications for practitioners in educational settings are outlined.

Date:
January 2009
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
26
Page/s:
31-39
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Cooperative play
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Engagement
  • Games with rules
  • Learning
  • Object play
  • Playfulness
  • Problem-solving
  • Self-regulation
  • Semiotic play
  • Social-emotional
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:

Nath, S. et al. (2014) Construction play and cognitive skills associated with the development of mathematical abilities in 7-year-old children (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Construction play is thought to develop logico-mathematical skills, however the underlying mechanisms have not been defined. In order to fill this gap, this study looks at the relationship between Lego con- struction ability, cognitive abilities and mathematical performance in 7-year-old, Year 2 primary school children (N 1⁄4 66). While studies have focused on the relationship between mathematics performance and verbal memory, there are limited studies focussing on visuospatial memory. We tested both vi- suospatial and verbal working memory and short term memory, as well as non-verbal intelligence. Mathematical performance was measured through the WIAT-II numerical operations, and the word reading subtest was used as a control variable. We used a Lego construction task paradigm based on four task variables found to systematically increase construction task difficulty. The results suggest that Lego construction ability is positively related to mathematics performance, and visuospatial memory fully mediates this relationship. Future work of an intervention study using Lego construction training to develop visuospatial memory, which in turn may improve mathematics performance, is suggested.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
32
Page/s:
73-80
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Correlational
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Numeracy
  • Working memory
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Neuman, S. et al. (1992) Literacy objects as cultural tools: Effects on children's literacy behaviors in play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This study examined the effects of literacy-enriched play settings on preschoolers' literacy behaviors in spontaneous free play. 91 children, ages 3-5, from two urban day-care centers participated in the study. Prior to and following the intervention, the frequency of each child's handling, reading, and writing behaviors in play was assessed through direct observation. Videotaped samples of play areas examined the nature of children's play themes and their uses of literacy objects in play. Following baseline observations, the physical environment of one of the day-care centers was enriched with literacy objects in three distinct play centers: kitchen, office, and library. Significant differences were recorded for the intervention group in the frequency, duration, and complexity of literacy demonstrations in play. Further, children in the intervention group incorporated literacy objects in more diverse and functional ways in their play, using more explicit language than the nonintervention group.

Date:
January 1992
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
203-225
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Free play
  • Literacy
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:

PEDAL, . et al. (2016) PEDAL Seminar: Self-regulation - Foundation skills for children's healthy development (Video Recording)

Abstract:

Part of the PEDAL Seminar series this video shows the recording of the recent seminar hosted by PEDAL and the Psychology & Education research group at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge.

Introduced by PEDAL acting Director Dr David Whitebread from the Faculty of Education and presented by Dr Megan McClelland, Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children & Families, Oregon State University.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic achievement
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Games with rules
  • Self-regulation
  • Semiotic play
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:

PEDAL, . et al. (2017) PEDAL Seminar: Play, self-regulation and early childhood - What does research say? (Video Recording)

Abstract:

A rare opportunity to hear from two of the world's foremost developmental psychologists about how their research has been applied to education and social policy.

Of particular interest to academics, teachers, early years practitioners, and third/public sector professionals, Professor Blair and Professor Sylva will highlight the effects of early education on development, attainment and fulfilling individual potential.

Prof Sylva's talk is entitled 'Nurturing 21st century skills in early childhood: evidence from the English EPPSE study and the EU CARE project'

Prof Blair's talk is entitled 'The Science of Self-Regulation: Supporting Executive Function Development in Early Childhood Through Play'

There will be time for a chaired Q&A session at the end of the talks and refreshments will be provided.

Professor Clancy Blair is a developmental psychologist who studies self-regulation in young children. His primary interest concerns the development of cognitive abilities referred to as executive functions and the ways in which these aspects of cognition are important for school readiness and early school achievement. He is also interested in the development and evaluation of pre-school and elementary school curricula designed to promote executive functions as a means of preventing school failure. In 2002, Blair and his colleagues at Penn State University and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development for a longitudinal, population-based study of family ecology and child development beginning at birth. In his part of the project, Blair is examining interaction between early experiential and biological influences on the development of executive functions and related aspects of self-regulation. Ultimately, Blair and his colleagues plan to follow this sample through the school years and into young adulthood. Prior to coming to NYU, Blair spent ten years as an assistant and then associate professor in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State. He received his doctorate in developmental psychology and a master's degree in public health from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1996.

After completing a doctorate in Developmental Psychology at Harvard, Professor Kathy Sylva moved to England for post-doctoral research with Jerome Bruner at the University of Oxford Department of Experimental Psychology. Her research interests fall into two themes. She has conducted several large-scale studies on the effects of early education and care on children's development, acting as a lead researcher on the Effective Pre-school and Primary Education study (EPPE/EPPSE) which followed 3,000 children from pre-school entry to the end of compulsory schooling. She co-led the national Evaluation of Childrens Centres in England, another large scale study on the effects of early childhood services on development. Her second interest is in parenting programmes aimed at enhancing parents capacity to support their childs learning and behaviour. She has led three randomised controlled trials to evaluate parenting interventions, the most recent on a parent programme aimed at supporting early reading near the start of primary school. Currently Kathy is researching the early childhood curriculum across Europe, funded by the EU. Kathy has published seven books and 200 papers/chapters/reports on early education/care, early literacy and ways to support families. She was Specialist Adviser to the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Education 2000-2009, the Tickell Review of the early childhood curriculum in 2011, and the National College Expert Panel on Standards for Early Years Teachers in 2012. In 2014-15 she was specialist advisor to the House of Lords Enquiry into Affordable Childcare. She was awarded an OBE in 2008 for services to children and families and in 2014 was awarded the British Education Associations Nisbett Award for outstanding contribution to educational research. She was elected Fellow of the British Psychological Society and also a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic achievement
  • Academic outcomes
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Games with rules
  • Longitudinal
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Peers play
  • Pre-academic skills
  • Self-regulation
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:

PEDAL, . et al. (2018) PEDAL Seminar: Not Too Early, But Just Right! - Unleashing the Power of Science in Early Childhood (Video Recording)

Abstract:

Professor Greenfield is a Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Miami. His work is positioned at the interface of research, policy and practice at the international, national and local level. His research examines school readiness with at-risk and dual language learners, with a specific focus on early science education.

Science has the power to engage early childhood educators and young children in hands-on, minds-on, fun and engaging experiences that increase the quality of teaching as well as provide young children with critical problem-solving skills and improved learning in multiple school readiness areas. In this PEDAL research seminar, Professor Greenfield discusses the role of science in early education in relation to research, as well as current policy and practice.

This lecture forms part of the PEDAL Research Seminar series
http://www.educ.cam.ac.uk/centres/pedal
@PEDALCam

Author/s:
Date:
January 2018
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic achievement
  • Academic outcomes
  • Executive function
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Peers play
  • Pre-academic skills
  • Science
  • Self-regulation
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Pino-Pasternak, D. et al. (2014) Interventions and Classroom Contexts That Promote Self-Regulated Learning: Two Intervention Studies in United Kingdom Primary Classrooms (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This paper has 2 aims: (a) identify pedagogical practices and classroom arrangements that foster self-regulated learning (SRL) on the basis of extant research and (b) illustrate, through the description of 2 intervention studies conducted in the United Kingdom, how those SRL promoting features can be used to design educational interventions appropriate for young students. Through a purposive sample of primary schools, both studies investigated the effects of collaborative problem solving, play, and dialogue on children’s SRL and academic achievement, following quasiexperimental pre- and post-test designs, comprising concurrent (Study 1) and retrospective (Study 2) comparison groups. Assessment and intervention data was video recorded and coded. In Study 1 the intervention group (57 1st grade students) participated in 8 collaborative problem-solving activities. ANOVAs analysis revealed improvements in declarative and monitoring aspects of SRL with enhanced improvements for initially low SRL students. In Study 2 (ongoing; 108 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade students) participants engage in 12 episodes of pretence and constructional play involving LEGO©, used to stimulate the generation of different genres of texts. Preliminary findings indicate positive uptake of the programme by students and teachers.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
23
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Collaborative skills
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Literacy
  • Object play
  • Peers play
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Pyle, A. et al. (2017) A Continuum of Play-Based Learning: The Role of the Teacher in Play-Based Pedagogy and the Fear of Hijacking Play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Research Findings: Research has demonstrated the developmental and educational benefits of play. Despite these benefits, teacher-directed academic instruction is prominent in kindergarten. There is increasing acknowledgment in curricula and policies of the challenges presented by a lack of play in classrooms and the need to support academic learning using developmentally appropriate practices. Current research emphasizes a narrow definition of play-based learning as a child-directed practice, resulting in teacher uncertainty about the implementation of this pedagogical approach. Fifteen kindergarten classrooms were examined using qualitative methodology, including observations and teacher interviews. Two different teacher profiles emerged: The 1st profile saw play and learning as separate constructs and reported challenges meeting academic demands using play-based learning. Their students primarily engaged in free play. The 2nd profile believed that play could support academic learning and that teachers fill an important role in play. Their students engaged in 5 different types of play, situated along a continuum from child directed to more teacher directed. Practice or Policy: The continuum of play-based learning provides a broader and more concrete definition of play-based learning to help teachers implement this pedagogical approach and to enhance the study of play-based learning in early years research.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
28
Page/s:
274-289
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Games with rules
  • Guided-play
  • Learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Qualitative methodology
Relevant age group/s: