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Definition

Barnett, W. et al. (2008) Educational effects of the Tools of the Mind curriculum: A randomized trial (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The effectiveness of the Tools of the Mind (Tools) curriculum in improving the education of 3- and 4-year-old children was evaluated by means of a randomized trial. The Tools curriculum, based on the work of Vygotsky, focuses on the development of self-regulation at the same time as teaching literacy and mathematics skills in a way that is socially mediated by peers and teachers and with a focus on play. The control group experienced an established district-created model described as a “balanced literacy curriculum with themes.” Teachers and students were randomly assigned to either treatment or control classrooms. Children (88 Tools and 122 control) were compared on social behavior, language, and literacy growth. The Tools curriculum was found to improve classroom quality and children's executive function as indicated by lower scores on a problem behavior scale. There were indications that Tools also improved children's language development, but these effects were smaller and did not reach conventional levels of statistical significance in multi-level models or after adjustments for multiple comparisons. Our findings indicate that a developmentally appropriate curriculum with a strong emphasis on play can enhance learning and development so as to improve both the social and academic success of young children. Moreover, it is suggested that to the extent child care commonly increases behavior problems this outcome may be reversed through the use of more appropriate curricula that actually enhance self-regulation.

Date:
January 2008
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
23
Page/s:
299-313
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Language
  • Learning
  • Literacy
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
Relevant age group/s:

Beck, S. et al. (2006) Children's Thinking About Counterfactuals and Future Hypotheticals as Possibilities (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Two experiments explored whether children's correct answers to counterfactual and future hypothetical questions were based on an understanding of possibilities. Children played a game in which a toy mouse could run down either 1 of 2 slides. Children found it difficult to mark physically both possible outcomes, compared to reporting a single hypothetical future event, “What if next time he goes the other way …” (Experiment 1: 3–4-year-olds and 4–5-year-olds), or a single counterfactual event, “What if he had gone the other way …?” (Experiment 2: 3–4-year-olds and 5–6-year-olds). An open counterfactual question, “Could he have gone anywhere else?,” which required thinking about the counterfactual as an alternative possibility, was also relatively difficult.

Date:
January 2006
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
77
Page/s:
413-426
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Blair, C. (2002) Early intervention for low birth weight, preterm infants: The role of negative emotionality in the specification of effects (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This study examined the relation of negative emotionality in infancy to child social and cognitive developmental outcomes among low birth weight (LBW) preterm infants participating in the Infant Health and Development Program (IHDP), a comprehensive compensatory education intervention beginning in infancy and lasting through age 3 years. In this analysis, intervention effects at age 36 months on maternal report of child behavior as assessed by the Child Behavior Checklist externalizing and internalizing scales and on intelligence as measured by the Stanford–Binet scale were largest among children characterized by higher levels of negative emotionality in infancy. Findings indicate that for LBW preterm infants characterized by negative emotionality at age 12 months the intervention was associated with a twofold decrease in the occurrence of clinically meaningful levels of behavior problems at age 3 years and a fourfold decrease in the occurrence of a high-risk profile in which both internalizing and externalizing scores are in the clinically meaningful range. The intervention was also associated with a fivefold decrease in the occurrence of IQ ≤ 75 at age 3 years among children with higher levels of negative emotionality and heavier LBW (2001–2500 g). However, specific aspects of temperamental difficulty such as fearfulness and anger were related to internalizing and externalizing, respectively, in both the intervention and control groups. Findings are consistent with research linking negative emotionality in infancy with social and cognitive developmental outcomes in early childhood among normal birth weight infants. Results suggest the need for further attention to child temperament in early intervention research.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2002
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
14
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Mental health
  • Physical health
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bonawitz, E. et al. (2011) The double-edged sword of pedagogy: Instruction limits spontaneous exploration and discovery (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Motivated by computational analyses, we look at how teaching affects exploration and discovery. In Experiment 1, we investigated children’s exploratory play after an adult pedagogically demonstrated a function of a toy, after an interrupted pedagogical demonstration, after a naïve adult demonstrated the function, and at baseline. Preschoolers in the pedagogical condition focused almost exclusively on the target function; by contrast, children in the other conditions explored broadly. In Experiment 2, we show that children restrict their exploration both after direct instruction to themselves and after overhearing direct instruction given to another child; they do not show this constraint after observing direct instruction given to an adult or after observing a non-pedagogical intentional action. We discuss these findings as the result of rational inductive biases. In pedagogical contexts, a teacher’s failure to provide evidence for additional functions provides evidence for their absence; such contexts generalize from child to child (because children are likely to have comparable states of knowledge) but not from adult to child. Thus, pedagogy promotes efficient learning but at a cost: children are less likely to perform potentially irrelevant actions but also less likely to discover novel information.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
120
Page/s:
322-330
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Free play
  • Guided-play
  • Learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Cook, C. et al. (2011) Where science starts: Spontaneous experiments in preschoolers’ exploratory play (Journal Article)

Abstract:
Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
120
Page/s:
341-349
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Exploratory play
  • Object play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Fawcett, C. et al. (2012) Mimicry and play initiation in 18-month-old infants (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Across two experiments, we examined the relationship between 18-month-old infants' mimicry and social behavior - particularly invitations to play with an adult play partner. In Experiment 1, we manipulated whether an adult mimicked the infant's play or not during an initial play phase. We found that infants who had been mimicked were subsequently more likely to invite the adult to join their play with a new toy. In addition, they reenacted marginally more steps from a social learning demonstration she gave. In Experiment 2, infants had the chance to spontaneously mimic the adult during the play phase. Complementing Experiment 1, those infants who spent more time mimicking the adult were more likely to invite her to play with a new toy. This effect was specific to play and not apparent in other communicative acts, such as directing the adult's attention to an event or requesting toys. Together, the results suggest that infants use mimicry as a tool to establish social connections with others and that mimicry has specific influences on social behaviors related to initiating subsequent joint interactions.

Date:
January 2012
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
35
Page/s:
689-696
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Object play
  • Play with other adult
  • Social cognition
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Feda, D. et al. (2012) Effect of increasing the choice of active options on children's physically active play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

bjectives: To determine whether increasing the choice of physical activity options increases the duration and intensity of children's physically active play. Design: This cross-sectional laboratory study included gender (male and female) and choice group [single toy (no choice), three toys (low choice), five toys (high choice)] as between participant factors. Methods: Boys and girls (. n=. 36, 8-12. y) were stratified, randomly assigned to a choice group that always provided access to each participant's most liked active toy(s), and allowed 60. min of free time. The same sedentary alternatives were freely available to all participants. Physical activity outcomes were measured by accelerometry, heart rate, and direct observation. Results: The number of active toys the children played with increased (. p<. 0.001) across each choice group. Minutes spent in MPA were greater in the low choice (. p<. 0.05) and high choice (. p<. 0.02) groups than the no choice group. Active playtime was greater (. p<. 0.01) in the low choice (79%) and high choice (95%) groups compared to the no choice group. Girls in the low and high choice groups had greater (. p<. 0.05) percent heart rate reserve when compared to girls in the no choice group. There was no difference in the boys' percent heart rate reserve between the no choice, low choice and high choice groups. Conclusions: Increasing the choice of active toys increases both the duration and intensity of physically active play, especially in girls. © 2011 Sports Medicine Australia.

Date:
January 2012
Volume:
15
Page/s:
334-340
Synonyms:
  • Experimental
  • Free play
  • Object play
  • Physical health
  • Physical play
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Fisher, K. et al. (2013) Taking Shape: Supporting Preschoolers' Acquisition of Geometric Knowledge Through Guided Play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Shape knowledge, a key aspect of school readiness, is part of early mathematical learning. Variations in how children are exposed to shapes may affect the pace of their learning and the nature of their shape knowledge. Building on evidence suggesting that child-centered, playful learning programs facilitate learning more than other methods, 4- to 5-year-old children (N = 70) were taught the properties of four geometric shapes using guided play, free play, or didactic instruction. Results revealed that children taught shapes in the guided play condition showed improved shape knowledge compared to the other groups, an effect that was still evident after 1 week. Findings suggest that scaffolding techniques that heighten engagement, direct exploration, and facilitate “sense-making,” such as guided play, undergird shape learning.

Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
n/a–n/a
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Free play
  • Learning
  • Playful learning
  • Pre-academic skills
  • Guided-play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Goldstein, T. et al. (2017) Dramatic pretend play games uniquely improve emotional control in young children (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Pretense is a naturally occurring, apparently universal activity for typically developing children. Yet its function and effects remain unclear. One theorized possibility is that pretense activities, such as dramatic pretend play games, are a possible causal path to improve children's emotional development. Social and emotional skills, particularly emotional control, are critically important for social development, as well as academic performance and later life success. However, the study of such approaches has been criticized for potential bias and lack of rigor, precluding the ability to make strong causal claims. We conducted a randomized, component control (dismantling) trial of dramatic pretend play games with a low-SES group of 4-year-old children (N = 97) to test whether such practice yields generalized improvements in multiple social and emotional outcomes. We found specific effects of dramatic play games only on emotional self-control. Results suggest that dramatic pretend play games involving physicalizing emotional states and traits, pretending to be animals and human characters, and engaging in pretend scenarios in a small group may improve children's emotional control. These findings have implications for the function of pretense and design of interventions to improve emotional control in typical and atypical populations. Further, they provide support for the unique role of dramatic pretend play games for young children, particularly those from low-income backgrounds. A video abstract of this article can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/2GVNcWKRHPk

Date:
January 2017
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
e12603
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
  • Socio-economic background
Relevant age group/s:

Jarareh, J. et al. (2016) The impact of group play therapy on creativity and control of aggression in preschool children (Journal Article)

Abstract:

AbstractThe main purpose of conducting this study was to investigate the effectiveness of group play therapy in preschool children’s creativity and aggression control. The research method was experimental along with pretest-posttest design in control group.The sample of study included all preschool students of Dehloran town with a total number of 60 students from preschool students that (30 subjects in experimental group and 30 subjects in control group) were selected by multistage random cluster sampling. The research instruments were Torrance’s creativity questionnaire and aggressiveness questionnaire of Shahim. Their reliability and validity have been confirmed and to analyze the findings, covariance analysis test was used. The major findings of the research indicate that, group play therapy in preschool children’s creativity and aggressionhas a significant effect on the level of 0.01 and it enhances creativity and reduces aggression in preschool children.

Date:
January 2016
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
3
Page/s:
1264655
Synonyms:
  • Affective behaviour
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Experimental
  • Games with rules
  • Mental health
  • Social-emotional
  • Well-being outcomes
Relevant age group/s: