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Archer, C. et al. (2015) Measuring the Quality of Movement-Play in Early Childhood Education Settings: Linking Movement-Play and Neuroscience (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This article explores the links between neuroscience research, movement, and neurological dysfunction in relation to young children's learning and development. While policymakers have recognised the importance of early development the role of movement has been overlooked. A small scale study was undertaken in four early years settings in a London Borough in order to investigate whether an intervention resulted in improved movement experiences for children. This is the first study to assess the quality of movement-play using a newly developed measuring scale. Results showed that an intervention does result in improved movement experiences for young children. Consistently enhanced results were found in relation to the vital role of the adult at the two intervention settings. For Vygotsky the adult role is critical to the quality of play and learning for the child (Siraj-Blatchford 2009). There is scope for a larger scale piece of research spread across different sectors in order to further test the validity and reliability of the scale.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2015
Volume:
23
Page/s:
21-42
Synonyms:
  • Physical play
  • Play assessment
  • Rough and tumble
  • Teacher/caregiver play

Aureli, T. et al. (2015) Behavioral and facial thermal variations in 3-to 4-month-old infants during the Still-Face Paradigm (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Behavioral and facial thermal responses were recorded in twelve 3- to 4-month-old infants during the Still-Face Paradigm (SFP). As in the usual procedure, infants were observed in a three-step, face-to-face interaction: a normal interaction episode (3 min); the "still-face" episode in which the mother became unresponsive and assumed a neutral expression (1 min); a reunion episode in which the mother resumed the interaction (3 min). A fourth step that consisted of a toy play episode (5 min) was added for our own research interest. We coded the behavioral responses through the Infant and Caregiver Engagement Phases system, and recorded facial skin temperature via thermal infrared (IR) imaging. Comparing still-face episode to play episode, the infants' communicative engagement decreased, their engagement with the environment increased, and no differences emerged in self-regulatory and protest behaviors. We also found that facial skin temperature increased. For the behavioral results, infants recognized the interruption of the interactional reciprocity caused by the still-face presentation, without showing upset behaviors. According to autonomic results, the parasympathetic system was more active than the sympathetic, as usually happens in aroused but not distressed situations. With respect to the debate about the causal factor of the still-face effect, thermal data were consistent with behavioral data in showing this effect as related to the infants' expectations of the nature of the social interactions being violated. Moreover, as these are associated to the infants' subsequent interest in the environment, they indicate the thermal IR imaging as a reliable technique for the detection of physiological variations not only in the emotional system, as indicated by research to date, but also in the attention system. Using this technique for the first time during the SFP allowed us to record autonomic data in a more ecological manner than in previous studies.

Date:
January 2015
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
6
Page/s:
1586
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Exploratory play
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Play with Mother
  • Self-regulation
  • Social-emotional
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Baker, C. (2014) African American Fathers' Contributions to Children's Early Academic Achievement: Evidence from Two-Parent Families from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Research Findings: This study utilized a large sample ("N" = 750) of 2-parent families from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Birth Cohort to examine the contributions of African American fathers' home literacy involvement, play activities, and caregiving at 24 months to children's reading and math achievement in preschool. After family characteristics and child characteristics were controlled for, both mother and father characteristics predicted child achievement. Mother age predicted math achievement but not reading. Furthermore, even after mother predictors were entered into the hierarchical regressions, fathers' education and home literacy involvement also significantly predicted achievement. African American fathers who engaged in more frequent shared book reading, telling stories, singing songs, and provided more children's books in their homes at 24 months had children with better reading and math scores in preschool. Practice or Policy: These findings support growing evidence that fathers contribute to child development. Implications for research on early academic achievement in ethnically diverse samples are discussed.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
25
Page/s:
19-35
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Literacy
  • Longitudinal
  • Numeracy
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Physical play
  • Play with Father
  • Socio-economic background
Relevant age group/s:

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:

Baumer, S. et al. (2005) Promoting narrative competence through adult–child joint pretense: Lessons from the Scandinavian educational practice of playworld (Journal Article)

Abstract:

This paper examines the effects of the playworld educational practice on the development of narrative competence in 5- to 7-year-old children. The playworld educational practice is derived from play pedagogy and the theory of narrative learning, both developed and implemented in Scandinavia. The playworld practice consists of joint adult–child pretense based in a work of children's literature, discussion, free play, and visual art production. When compared to children under a control intervention (conventional school practices without pretend play), children who participated in the playworld practice show significant improvements in narrative length, coherence, and comprehension, although not in linguistic complexity. These findings provide further evidence concerning the role of pretense in the narrative development of young children.

Date:
January 2005
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
20
Page/s:
576-590
Synonyms:
  • Academic outcomes
  • Literacy
  • Pedagogy
  • Playful learning
  • Pretend play
  • Semiotic play
  • Teacher/caregiver play
Relevant age group/s:

Becker, B. (2014) How Often Do You Play with Your Child? The Influence of Parents' Cultural Capital on the Frequency of Familial Activities from Age Three to Six (Journal Article)

Abstract:

Many studies have demonstrated a positive association between familial activities (e.g. reading to the child) and children's development in different domains. It is also well-known that social and ethnic differences exist regarding the frequencies of such activities. However, the mechanism behind these differences is less clear. This article analyses the role of parents' cultural capital as a mediating factor between families' social and ethnic background and the frequency of stimulating familial activities in early childhood. Using the data from the German longitudinal study "Preschool Education and Educational Careers among Migrant Children", it is shown that parents' cultural capital completely mediates the effect of mother's education and part of the ethnic origin effect. Additional longitudinal analyses reveal that the influence of parents' cultural capital changes over time and is most pronounced at the earliest measurement.

Author/s:
Date:
January 2014
Volume:
22
Page/s:
4-13
Synonyms:
  • Games with rules
  • Longitudinal
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Play with Mother
  • Socio-economic background
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Bernier, A. et al. (2010) From External Regulation to Self-Regulation: Early Parenting Precursors of Young Children’s Executive Functioning (Journal Article)

Abstract:

In keeping with proposals emphasizing the role of early experience in infant brain development, this study investigated the prospective links between quality of parent–infant interactions and subsequent child executive functioning (EF), including working memory, impulse control, and set shifting. Maternal sensitivity, mind-mindedness and autonomy support were assessed when children were 12 to 15 months old (N = 80). Child EF was assessed at 18 and 26 months. All three parenting dimensions were found to relate to child EF. Autonomy support was the strongest predictor of EF at each age, independent of general cognitive ability and maternal education. These findings add to previous results on child stress-response systems in suggesting that parent–child relationships may play an important role in children’s developing self-regulatory capacities.

Date:
January 2010
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
81
Page/s:
326-339
Synonyms:
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Longitudinal
  • Parent/Guardian play
  • Play with other adult
  • Self-regulation
  • Executive function
Relevant age group/s:
Research discipline:

Brooker, L. et al. (2014) SAGE Handbook of Play and Learning in Early Childhood (Book)

Abstract:

'This Handbook offers diverse perspectives from scholars across the globe who help us see play in new ways. At the same time the basic nature of play gives a context for us to learn new theoretical frameworks and methods. A real gem!'
- Beth Graue, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Wisconsin Center for Education Research, USA

Play and learning scholarship has developed considerably over the last decade, as has the recognition of its importance to children’s learning and development.

Containing chapters from highly respected researchers, whose work has been critical to building knowledge and expertise in the field, this Handbook focuses on examining historical, current and future research issues in play and learning scholarship.

Organized into three sections which consider:

theoretical and philosophical perspectives on play and learning
play in pedagogy, curriculum and assessment
play contexts.

The Handbook's breadth, clarity and rigor will make it essential reading for researchers and postgraduate students, as well as professionals with interest in this dynamic and changing field.

Liz Brooker is Reader in Early Childhood in the Faculty of Children and Learning at the Institute of Education, University of London.

Mindy Blaise is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education in the Department of Early Childhood Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

Susan Edwards is Associate Professor in Curriculum and Pedagogy at Australian Catholic University.

Date:
January 2014
Publisher or Journal:
Volume:
Page/s:
Synonyms:
  • Cultural context
  • Developmental outcomes
  • Digital play
  • Learning
  • Outdoor play
  • Physical play
  • Play assessment
  • Playful learning
  • Playfulness
  • Playground
  • Pretend play

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: