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Barbu, S. et al. (2011) Boys and girls on the playground: sex differences in social development are not stable across early childhood (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Sex differences in human social behaviors and abilities have long been a question of public and scientific interest. Females are usually assumed to be more socially oriented and skillful than males. However, despite an extensive literature, the very existence of sex differences remains a matter of discussion while some studies found no sex differences whereas others reported differences that were either congruent or not with gender stereotypes. Moreover, the magnitude, consistency and stability across time of the differences remain an open question, especially during childhood. As play provides an excellent window into children's social development, we investigated whether and how sex differences change in social play across early childhood. Following a cross-sectional design, 164 children aged from 2 to 6 years old, divided into four age groups, were observed during outdoor free play at nursery school. We showed that sex differences are not stable over time evidencing a developmental gap between girls and boys. Social and structured forms of play emerge systematically earlier in girls than in boys leading to subsequent sex differences in favor of girls at some ages, successively in associative play at 3-4 years, cooperative play at 4-5 years, and social interactions with peers at 5-6 years. Preschool boys also display more solitary play than preschool girls, especially when young. Nevertheless, while boys catch up and girls move on towards more complex play, sex differences in social play patterns are reversed in favor of boys at the following ages, such as in associative play at 4-5 years and cooperative play at 5-6 years. This developmental perspective contributes to resolve apparent discrepancies between single-snapshot studies. A better understanding of the dynamics of sex differences in typical social development should also provide insights into atypical social developments which exhibit sex differences in prevalence, such as autism.

Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
e16407
Synonyms:
  • Cooperative play
  • Cross-sectional
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Parallel play
  • Peers play
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Solitary play
Research discipline:

Buggey, T. et al. (2013) The Use of Self-Modeling to Promote Social Interactions among Young Children (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Video self-modeling (VSM) has been used to teach social skills to children with autism older than 4 years of age. Attempts to use VSM with younger children with disabilities have produced less than favorable results; however, it is unclear whether VSM could be used to promote social initiations by typically developing children. Thirty minutes of staged filming, in which the four typically developing participants were prompted to interact with a peer with autism on the playground and inside during center time, was edited into 2.5- to 3-min clips. Each clip took less than 2 [hours] to edit. Data were collected on frequency of solitary play, initiations, parallel play, and engaged play and were then analyzed in a multiple-baseline-across-participants single-case design. Visual analysis led to the conclusion that VSM did not affect the typically developing children's behavior. Limitations of the study and cautions for using VSM with very young children are discussed.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2013
Volume:
28
Page/s:
202-211
Synonyms:
  • Atypical development
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Engagement
  • Parallel play
  • Peers play
  • Playground
  • Social cognition
  • Social-emotional
  • Solitary play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bulotsky-Shearer, R. et al. (2012) Peer Play Interactions and Readiness to Learn: A Protective Influence for African American Preschool Children From Low-Income Households (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Guided by a strengths-based resiliency framework, this article reviews a body of research on the positive influence of interactive peer play for African American preschool children from low-income households. This literature provides evidence for positive associations among interactive peer play experiences at home and in school, and childrens early childhood social and academic skills. It presents the development and validation of three distinct dimensions of interactive peer play with African American children attending Head Start. It reviews research examining associations between these 3 dimensions and childrens academic and social outcomes, as well as evidence-based interventions designed to foster interactive peer play for this population. It highlights challenges and directions for future research, with emphasis on the likely research needed to extend our understanding of interactive peer play experiences for Latino and Asian American children and the complex mechanisms through which positive peer interactions during early childhood may support childrens early learning and development.

Date:
January 2012
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
225-231
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Cultural context
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Language
  • Literature review
  • Peers play
  • Pre-academic skills
  • Social play
  • Social-emotional
  • Socio-economic background
Relevant age group/s:

Canning, N. (2007) Children's empowerment in play (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This article examines the level of empowerment and autonomy children can create in their play experiences. It examines the play discourses that children build and maintain and considers the importance of play contexts in supporting children's emotional and social development. These aspects of play are often unseen or misunderstood by the adult observer. The article emphasises the importance of adult‐free play, enabling children to experience a sense of power in their play and explore their awareness of personal and social relationships. It analyses the influence the adult can have on children's play spaces, by bringing an ‘adult agenda’ to the play situation, and how this may ultimately disempower children. Dans le présent exposé, l'auteur examine comment les enfants acquièrent une indépendance et une autonomie par le jeu. Elle examine les discours qu'ils construisent et qu'ils mènent et analyse le rôle joué par les contextes ludiques dans leur développement affectif et social. Souvent, les adultes qui les observent ne remarquent pas ces aspects ou les comprennent mal. L'auteur souligne l'importance des jeux menés à l'écart des adultes, ce qui donne un sentiment de pouvoir aux enfants et les aident à prendre conscience de leurs relations personnelles et sociales. Elle analyse l'influence que peuvent avoir les adultes sur les aires de jeux et décrit comment, en imposant leurs priorités sur la situation de jeu, ils risquent de porter atteinte au sentiment d'indépendance des enfants. In dieser Arbeit wird das Maß an Empowerment und Autonomie untersucht, das Kinder in ihren Spielerfahrungen erleben und herstellen können. Die Arbeit beschäftigt sich mit den Diskursen, die Kinder beim Spielen entwickeln und fortführen, und betrachtet die Bedeutung von Spielumfeldern für die emotionale und soziale Entwicklung von Kindern. Diese Aspekte des Spielens werden vom erwachsenen Beobachter oft übersehen oder missverstanden. Betont wird die Wichtigkeit des Spielens ohne Einfluss von Erwachsenen, wodurch Kinder ein Gefühl von Selbstbestimmung erleben und ihre Wahrnehmung persönlicher und sozialer Beziehungen ergründen können. In dieser Arbeit wird zudem analysiert, welchen Einfluss Erwachsene unter Umständen auf Spielumgebungen von Kindern haben, indem sie ‘Erwachsenen‐Interessen’ in die Spielsituation einbringen, und wie dies Kinder letztendlich entmächtigen kann. El presente trabajo de investigación examina el nivel de capacitación y autonomía que los niños crean en sus experiencias de juego. En él se examinan los discursos del juego que los niños crean y mantienen, y se analiza la importancia de los contextos de juego en el sostenimiento del desarrollo afectivo y social del niño. A menudo, estos aspectos del juego pasan desapercibidos o son malinterpretados por el observador adulto. El presente trabajo hace hincapié en la importancia del juego sin la presencia de adultos, que permita a los niños experimentar una sensación de dominio durante el juego y explorar su consciencia de las relaciones personales y sociales. El documento analiza asimismo la influencia que ejerce el adulto sobre los espacios de juego infantiles, al incorporar sus ‘planes adultos’ a una situación de juego, y cómo, en última instancia, esto puede ir en detrimento de la capacitación a los niños.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2007
Volume:
15
Page/s:
227-236
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Literature review
  • Peers play
  • Social-emotional
  • Teacher/caregiver play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Canning, N. (2013) "Where's the Bear? Over There!"--Creative Thinking and Imagination in Den Making (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This small scale research project examines opportunities for creative thinking and imagination through den making in a rural private day nursery with its own woodland area on the borders of England and Wales in the UK. The research is underpinned by sociocultural theory and is an ethnographic study of non-participant observations of children aged between three and four years old and early years practitioners involved in supporting their play. The focus is on children's creative play in peer social groups and examines the way in which children explore their environment and utilise their play space and resources to sustain imagination and creativity. The research considers how the environment and den-making context provides opportunities for possibility thinking [Craft, A. (2001). "Little c creativity." In A. Craft, B. Jeffrey, & M. Liebling (Eds.), "Creativity in education" (pp. 45-61). London: Continuum], where children are encouraged to explore "what if?" questions. The research explores the way in which an outdoor environment can support flexible opportunities and resources where children are able to engage in imaginative and creative play, develop their communication skills and build relationships with other children and adults. The research considers children's fascination with the story "bears in the wood" and how early years practitioners facilitated their creative thinking and imagination.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2013
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
183
Page/s:
1042-1053
Synonyms:
  • Creativity
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Free play
  • Outdoor play
  • Peers play
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Qualitative methodology
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s:

Cole, M. et al. (1978) The Role of Play in Development (Book Section)

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.

Date:
January 1978
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
92-104
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Learning
  • Peers play
  • Pretend play
  • Self-regulation
  • Social play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Conner, J. et al. (2014) A Play and Language Intervention for Two-Year-Old Children: Implications for Improving Play Skills and Language (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to develop an intervention for 2-year-old children to enhance play and language skills. The intervention was implemented over a 4-week period and included components of reading, modeling, and positive reinforcement of language and play. Specifically, children were read a story and played with a matching toy set. Participants included 10 children, all age 2, who attended a child care center. Five participants received the play intervention, and five were used as comparison. All children were assessed using the Play in Early Childhood Evaluation System (PIECES), the Preschool Language Scale (PLS), and a Vocabulary Assessment. The results of this study showed that children who received the intervention increased pretend play more than the comparison group and also increased comprehension and expressive communication skills more than the comparison group. Implications for early childhood educators and parents are discussed.

Date:
January 2014
Volume:
28
Page/s:
221-237
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Exploratory play
  • Language
  • Peers play
  • Play assessment
  • Pretend play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Coplan, R. et al. (2014) ‘I want to play alone’: Assessment and correlates of self‐reported preference for solitary play in young children. (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The goal of this study was to develop and validate an interview assessment of preference for solitary activities for use with young children. We also tested the postulation that negative peer experiences would heighten preference for solitude, particularly among young shy children. Participants were N = 193 children (87 boys, 106 girls; Mage = 65.76 mos, SD = 12.68) attending preschools and elementary schools (kindergarten, grade 1) located in south‐eastern Ontario, Canada. Self‐reported preference for solitude was measured with the newly developed Preference for Solitary Play Interview (PSPI). Children also reported their perceived peer acceptance. Mothers provided ratings of children's social withdrawal (shyness and unsociability) and social engagement outside of school, and teachers assessed children's socio‐emotional functioning at school. Among the results, the newly developed PSPI displayed good psychometric properties and evidence of construct/convergent validity. For example, preference for solitary play was positively related to indices of social withdrawal, and negatively associated with social engagement, prosocial behaviour, and perceived peer acceptance. In addition, peer exclusion was found to exacerbate the association between shyness and preference for solitary play. Results are discussed in terms of the assessment and implications of preference for solitude in early childhood. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved). (journal abstract)

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
23
Page/s:
229-238
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Peers play
  • Play assessment
  • Social-emotional
  • Solitary play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Cugmas, Z. (2011) Relation between Children's Attachment to Kindergarten Teachers, Personality Characteristics and Play Activities (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to develop the "observational scheme of child's free play in kindergarten" (OFP) and examine the associations between "child's attachment to his/her kindergarten teacher" (CAKT) and: (1) cognitive and social play behaviour, (2) child's contacts with his/her peers and teacher during free play session in kindergarten, and (3) child's personality characteristics. One hundred and one children (57.4% male) participated in the research. Children's ages ranged from 24 to 74 months (M = 51.4; SD = 12.0). Trained observers filled in the OFP, CAKT and the "inventory of child individual differences" (ICID). Play behaviour was observed at kindergarten during free play sessions of 60 minutes, and cognitive and social play categories were coded. Metric characteristics of the OFP appeared to be satisfactory. Results revealed significant correlations between children's secure and resistance attachment to their kindergarten teachers and cooperative play, the contacts with their peers and teachers during free play session in kindergarten and their personality characteristics. In future, it will be necessary to analyse the causational associations between discovered variables. (Contains 9 tables.)

Author/s:
Date:
January 2011
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
181
Page/s:
1271-1289
Synonyms:
  • Correlational
  • Peers play
  • Social play
  • Teacher/caregiver play
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Dansereau, D. (2015) Young Children's Interactions with Sound-Producing Objects (Journal Article)

Abstract:

The purpose of this study was to observe, analyze, and document the range of young children's interactions with sound-producing objects in order to better understand the nature of such interactions. Of particular interest was whether theories of cognitive play, social play, object play, and existing research on musical play could guide concurrently the interpretation of children's interactions with these objects and whether the interactions were consistent with these theories. Two groups of participants, nine 3-year-old children and seven 4-year-old children, played with sound-producing objects for approximately 15 min once a week for 12 weeks. Participants interacted with the objects in rich and varied ways, including explorations of the objects' sound-producing capabilities and other physical attributes, nonmusical and musical functional and pretend play episodes, and construction behaviors. Movement and singing often were layered upon the children's interactions with the objects. Musical functional play was the most frequently observed behavior across both ages of participants. The children were more likely to engage in solitary/parallel behaviors than group interactions, and group interactions were more common among the 4-year-old children than the 3-year-olds. All behaviors that were anticipated via the conceptual framework were observed, with the exception of group nonmusic exploration.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2015
Volume:
63
Page/s:
28-46
Synonyms:
  • Exploratory play
  • Functional play
  • Musical play
  • Peers play
  • Play assessment
  • Pretend play
  • Semiotic play
  • Solitary play
  • Construction play
Relevant age group/s: