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Children, especially in the preschool years, learn a tremendous amount through play. Research on guided play demonstrates how schools can couple a curriculum-centered preschool program with a developmentally appropriate pedagogical approach to classroom teaching. However, to fully test this claim, we need a clear definition of the term “guided play”: In guided play, the adult structures the play environment, but the child maintains control within that environment. Guided play can lead to dramatically better learning outcomes than didactic situations. If you tell them, children will learn. But if you guide them, children are more likely to actively explore and learn more.
8 Kappan May 2015
work for
Research demonstrates that guided play can help
preschool children prepare for reading and math better
than free play and direct instruction alone.
By Deena Skolnick Weisberg, Audrey K. Kittredge, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek,
Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, and David Klahr
In 2014, New York City implemented a badly needed and bold
initiative: It vastly expanded its prekindergarten offerings, with
the promise of serving every 4-year-old in the city. The goal is
to boost every child’s academic and school-readiness skills by us-
ing guided play. This initiative provides the perfect opportunity
to consider the relationship between play and learning, and the way in
which guided play intrinsically links them. Research on guided play dem-
onstrates how it is possible to couple a curriculum-centered preschool
program with a developmentally appropriate pedagogical approach to
classroom teaching.
The notion of guided play was fi rst introduced to the literature in
order to bridge the oft-discussed yet false dichotomy between play and
learning (Hirsh-Pasek & Golinkoff, 2011). Children, especially in the
preschool years, learn a tremendous amount through play. However,
to fully test this claim, we need a clear defi nition of “guided play” so
we can distinguish it from other types of play. This article does that. It
also explains how learning through play occurs and why guided play is
DEENA SKOLNICK WEISBERG is a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, Pa. AUDREY K. KITTREDGE is a postdoctoral research fellow at Carnegie
Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pa. KATHY HIRSH-PASEK is the Stanley and Debra
Lefkowitz professor of psychology at Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa. ROBERTA
MICHNICK GOLINKOFF is the Unidel H. Rodney Sharp professor of psychology at the
University of Delaware, Newark, Del. DAVID KLAHR is the Walter van Dyke Bingham
professor of cognitive development and education science at Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Illustration: Thinkstock/iStock
Play and the Common Core
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most effective for achieving specifi ed learning goals
in areas such as reading readiness and number sense.
Guided play defi ned
When we think of play in young children, we usu-
ally think of free play, where children can do anything
they want with any materials they want, without in-
tervention from adults. There is mounting evidence
that free play is highly benefi cial for various aspects
of children’s development (Hirsh-Pasek et al., 2008;
Singer, Golinkoff, & Hirsh-Pasek, 2006). Children
who play more have better social skills (Singer &
Singer, 2009), demonstrate better self-regulation
(Diamond & Lee, 2011), and are more creative
thinkers (Dansky, 1980). Although these links are
largely correlational (Lillard et al., 2013), they sug-
gest that play has value for the development of well-
adjusted, creative individuals who will be prepared
to solve challenging problems.
But not all play is created equal. While free play
is a wonderful realm for children to explore their
social and self-regulatory skills, research suggests
that it might not be the best way to achieve educa-
tional outcomes (Fisher et al., 2010). It’s easy to see
why this is the case: Although children engaged in
unfettered exploration could potentially stumble on
the information that a teacher is trying to impart,
it would lead to haphazard success at best. Guided
play is the best way to incorporate play into early
curricula without compromising educational goals,
while allowing children to enjoy school.
What’s the difference between guided and free play?
To help characterize this distinction, we offer a two-
by-two grid (see Table 1), that categorizes types of play
according to who initiates them and who directs them.
Free play is both child-initiated and child-directed;
children decide what to play and how. When play is
both adult-initiated and adult-directed, it’s really a
form of direct instruction, where adults are telling
children what actions to take. When play is child-initi-
ated but adult-directed, this is co-opted play: Children
start out in charge, but adults take over and begin to set
the agenda for the scenario, without providing space
for children’s autonomy. Finally, guided play is a blend
of adult initiation and child direction.
In guided play, it’s crucial that children direct the
action because it gives them the autonomy to make
decisions about what to do in any given moment.
They are in control of what happens next and in
what they wish to explore and how. Children do not
just perceive that they are in control; in guided play,
they truly can decide what to do next and how to
respond. This is an important feature of guided play
because even children are sensitive to the difference
between circumstances where they lead and those
where they are given an educational experience dis-
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Types of play
Adult-initiated Child-initiated
Adult-directed Instruction Co-opted play
Child-directed Guided play Free play
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10 Kappan May 2015
educational outcomes (Weisberg, Hirsh-Pasek, &
Golinkoff, 2013; Weisberg et al., 2013). For exam-
ple, a recent study found that children who explored
the meanings of new words in an adult-guided play
session learned those words better than children who
engaged in free play (Dickinson et al., 2013). In this
study, children heard new vocabulary words used in
a story that were defi ned by an instructor and then
had the opportunity to play with replica toys related
to that story. Some children engaged in a free-play
session with these toys for 10 minutes while the in-
structor merely observed. For other children, the
instructor took a more active role, either working
with children to re-enact scenes from the book or
engaging children in conversation about the words
in the context of their play actions. Children in the
free play condition learned the words markedly less
well than children in the other two adult-guided play
To take a second example, another study taught
children the meaning of new words directly or en-
gaged them in a playful activity in which they had
to actively determine a relationship between the
new words and their referents. In a test of reten-
tion, children who learned in this playful context
outperformed those who were directly taught the
word-object pairing (Zosh, Brinster, & Halberda,
2013). In addition, parents who engage in guided
play with their children use more spatial terms like
“over” and “between” (Ferrara et al., 2011), poten-
tially helping children learn these diffi cult words bet-
ter. And children who play board games with adults
that involve numbers show marked growth in their
early math skills. These studies provide good evi-
dence that guided play situations help children learn
as well as traditional didactic situations.
More interesting, guided play can lead to dramati-
cally better learning outcomes than didactic situations.
For example, one recent study found that children
learn the properties of shapes, like triangles, regard-
less of whether they were taught directly or through
guided play. However, children who learned through
guided play were better at extending the concept of
“triangle” to less typical instances of triangles, like
those with large internal angles (Fisher et al., 2013).
This suggests that in guided play, though not in di-
rect instruction, children learned the distinguishing
features of the shape (i.e., a triangle has three sides
and three angles) and could transfer that knowledge.
Another clear illustration of this contrast between
direct instruction and guided play comes from a study
that showed preschoolers a new toy (Bonawitz, et al.,
2011). For some children, the toy was described as
part of a teaching demonstration, creating an adult-
initiated, adult-directed situation. The adult said,
“I’m going to show you how my toy works,” and then
guised as play — what one might call “chocolate-cov-
ered broccoli.” On this point, free play and guided
play are the same in their focus on the child as an
active participant and leader. Guided play crucially
incorporates an element of adult structuring of the
play environment, but the child maintains control
within that environment.
Within the learning context, adults guide play in
one of two ways: by carefully preparing the environ-
ment beforehand and by scaffolding children’s actions
as the play unfolds over time (Fisher et al., 2010). En-
vironmental preparation occurs frequently, as when
a teacher chooses which toys will be available for a
given play session in a Montessori classroom (Lillard,
2013), or when a museum exhibit offers interactive
elements as part of a child visitor’s self-paced explora-
tion. There are also multiple ways for adults to guide
play on the fl y while maintaining the crucial element
of child control. For example, adults could ask open-
ended questions while children are playing. Phrases
that invite children to think more deeply about their
activities, such as “What do you think would hap-
pen if . . . ” provide a gentle nudge toward a learning
goal while allowing children to absorb the necessary
information at their own pace. Adults also could in-
corporate objects that children might not have no-
ticed on their own: “I wonder what would happen if
you try using this one?” Again, this allows children
to maintain control because it gives them the option
of rejecting this suggestion. It also allows the teacher
to inject helpful hints about different ways to explore
as the child moves toward the learning goal. The key
idea is that the adult should be relatively unobtrusive
and respectful of children’s choices.
Guided play takes place in a structured environ-
ment with some form of adult scaffolding, allowing
a teacher’s expertise to inform how children should
approach the situation. Yet guided play leaves the
locus of control with the child, making room for self-
directed exploration. This kind of subtle attentional
focusing takes advantage of children’s sensitivity to
the mise en place: the situational factors that prepare
them for particular kinds of actions within the envi-
ronment (Weisberg et al., 2014).
Balancing freedom and structure
A growing body of literature suggests that this bal-
ance between freedom and structure is what makes
guided play a successful teaching tool for a range of
Guided play can lead to
dramatically better learning
outcomes than didactic situations.
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V96 N8 11
pulled out one of the tubes, which made a squeaking
sound. The adult did not demonstrate three other
hidden functions of the toy. When these children
were given a chance to play with the toy, they pulled
the squeaker but didn’t tend to discover the other
three functions. For other children, the situation
was set up as guided play: adult-initiated but child-
directed. The experimenter pulled the squeaker as
if by accident and said, “Did you see that? Let me
try to do that.” In contrast to the fi rst group, chil-
dren in this group not only pulled the squeaker but
also explored the toy further and discovered more
of the other functions. These results illustrate that
direct teaching can work; if you tell them, children
will learn. But guided play works better; if you guide
them, children are more likely to actively explore
and learn more.
But what if a teacher wants to focus children’s
attention on a specifi c learning goal without sup-
pressing their exploration? In the study with the
toy, children in the guided play group didn’t spend
as much time pulling the squeaker as children who
were directly taught. This suggests that their explo-
ration may have come at a cost to learning about
the function that the adult wanted the children to
learn. A new study suggests this tradeoff may not
always be necessary. When children are shown just
one way to fi nd toy animals in a miniature forest
(“here’s how you can fi nd animals”), they focus on
the demonstrated strategy and fi nd fewer animals in
different hiding places. But when the demonstration
is followed by a hint — “here’s how you can fi nd ani-
mals…but there could be lots of other ways to fi nd
animals” — children not only use the demonstrated
strategy but go beyond it, exploring and discovering
more animals in different hiding places (Kittredge,
Klahr, & Fisher, 2014, 2015).
These results suggest that if teachers implement
this method, which combines elements of direct
teaching with guided play, they would reap the ben-
efi ts of both approaches. Specifi cally, this situation
illustrates one of many ways to implement the adult-
initiated, child-directed formula for guided play.
Giving children a nudge in the right direction and
letting them choose their actions from there can be
a productive strategy for teaching.
Effective learning accelerator
The work reviewed here demonstrates that guided
play can be used for teaching preschool children. By
melding elements of unstructured exploration with
teacher-led instruction, teachers can harness the ap-
peal of play in the service of learning, allowing for
the transmission of new skills and information in a
child-led and genuinely enjoyable context. Guided
play, by respecting children’s self-direction in an
If you tell them, children
will learn. But if you guide
them, children are more
likely to actively explore and
learn more.
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12 Kappan May 2015
adult-initiated environment, allows for a strong cur-
ricular foundation with developmentally appropri-
ate pedagogy. As S.L. Kagan writes, “The literature
is clear: Diverse strategies that combine play and
more structured efforts are effective accelerators of
children’s readiness for school and long-term devel-
opment” (Kagan & Lowenstein, 2004, p. 72).
It also is important to consider how guided play
might be implemented for children at a variety of
ages and for a variety of learning outcomes. More
research is needed on these issues to determine
how it might be feasible to incorporate the prin-
ciples of guided play in educational settings outside
preschools. This research should include closely
matched control groups engaging in play-based
interventions that are not guided or that involve
different kinds of guidance, as well as no-play con-
trols, to determine the full extent of guided play’s
utility. Pedagogical choices might also vary across
content areas and across age groups. For instance,
in certain kinds of learning contexts, such as those
in which the environment provides few if any clues
about the underlying structure of the material to
be learned, some have argued that a more directive
pedagogy might be needed (Klahr & Nigam, 2004).
But, as noted earlier, engaging children in guided
play and ensuring that they learn key concepts are
not mutually exclusive, especially since the guided
play framework can provide the right amount of
such structure.
The results reviewed here should lead us to ask
how the principles of guided play might be useful
in educating people of all ages and in a variety of
contexts. Exploration within a controlled environ-
ment and self-directed activities in partnership with
a more knowledgeable peer could benefi t not only
children’s learning throughout the school years, but
also adult productivity. We can see the promise of
this kind of suggestion if we use the idea of play as
a metaphor for any kind of activity that engenders
active, engaged participation (Chi, 2009). For ex-
ample, elementary school and college students who
engage in exploratory problem-solving before a lec-
ture on that topic learn better than those who get the
standard lecture-then-practice form of instruction
(Schwartz, Sears, & Bransford, 2005). Adults might
also benefi t from situations that are set up playfully
but with some particular constraints. Much of the re-
cent interest in “gamifi cation” — adding game-like
features to educational and productivity software —
falls into this category. However, not many studies
have carefully examined whether learning through
games provides long-term benefi ts. Additional re-
search is needed to understand how instructional
Play has value for the
development of well-
adjusted, creative
individuals who will
be prepared to solve
challenging problems.
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games and learner activity leads to both short- and
long-term learning and transfer.
Despite these current limits to our knowledge,
the evidence reviewed here strongly suggests that
guided play is a powerful tool for enhancing young
children’s learning and is a key component of suc-
cessful early education curricula. We thus applaud
New York City’s endorsement of guided play as a
teaching strategy. Using this developmentally ap-
propriate pedagogy can support a strong curricu-
lum. As Lillard et al. note, “hands-on, child-driven
educational methods . . . are the most positive means
yet known to help young children’s development”
(2013, p. 27).
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& Lam, W.S. (2011). Block talk: Spatial language during block
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Conference Paper
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Το παιχνίδι θεωρείται «κυρίαρχη δραστηριότητα για κάθε πλευρά της ανάπτυξης και της μάθησης των παιδιών» (Ινστιτούτο Εκπαιδευτικής Πολιτικής, Υπουργείο Παιδείας και Θρησκευμάτων, 2014α: 29) και έχει αποτελέσει αντικείμενο μελέτης πολλών ερευνητών (Johnson & Wu, 2019, Σακελλαρίου, 2016, Σακελλαρίου & Ρέντζου, 2012, Wood, 2014). Ωστόσο, παρά τη σπουδαιότητα του θέματος τα ερευνητικά δεδομένα στην ελληνική βιβλιογραφία καταδεικνύουν πως η διδασκαλία δεν στηρίζεται όσο θα έπρεπε στο παιχνίδι. Η παρούσα μελέτη διεξήχθη το ακαδημαϊκό έτος 2016-2017 και διερευνά τις απόψεις νηπιαγωγών (Ν:66) της Περιφέρειας Ηπείρου και τεταρτοετών προπτυχιακών φοιτητών (Ν:64) του Παιδαγωγικού Τμήματος Νηπιαγωγών του Πανεπιστημίου Ιωαννίνων α) για το σχεδιασμό και την αξιολόγηση της διδακτικής του παιχνιδιού σε προσχολικά περιβάλλοντα μάθησης και β) για τη σημασία του παιχνιδιού στην εκπαιδευτική διαδικασία. Τα ευρήματα της έρευνας ανέδειξαν τη σπουδαιότητα του παιχνιδιού στην εκπαιδευτική διαδικασία του Νηπιαγωγείου. Ωστόσο, οι νηπιαγωγοί δεν αναγνωρίζουν τη σημασία της συνεργασίας τους με τα παιδιά αναφορικά με τον σχεδιασμό των δραστηριοτήτων παιχνιδιού στο σχολικό περιβάλλον, σε αντίθεση με τους μελλοντικούς νηπιαγωγούς που τη θεωρούν σημαντική. Εκπαιδευτικοί και φοιτητές ενθαρρύνουν τα παιδιά να σχεδιάζουν τις δικές τους δραστηριότητες παιχνιδιού, ωστόσο, οι φοιτητές αδυνατούν να συνειδητοποιήσουν το βαθμό δυσκολίας του παιδαγωγικού σχεδιασμού, λόγω ελλιπούς διδακτικής εμπειρίας. Οι νηπιαγωγοί και οι φοιτητές που έχουν επιμορφωθεί για την παιδαγωγική αξία του παιχνιδιού αξιολογούν τη μάθηση των παιδιών μέσα από το παιχνίδι σε μεγαλύτερο ποσοστό από τους νηπιαγωγούς και τους φοιτητές που δεν έχουν επιμορφωθεί. Τέλος, η έρευνα καταδεικνύει την παιδαγωγική κατάρτιση των εκπαιδευτικών για την καλύτερη αξιοποίηση του παιχνιδιού στην εκπαιδευτική διαδικασία.
In this chapter, we explore early childhood educators’ experiences and perceptions of young children’s play and learning at dioramas, portrayals of frozen moments in time depicting three-dimensional scenes of the natural world. In this study, we interviewed ten early childhood educators at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Through teachers’ perspectives and experiences, we explore examples of play-based, diorama-based science learning activities. Findings suggest that play and learning at or inspired by dioramas looks different across classes and contexts but is perceived as vital in sparking imagination and creativity for young children when integrated into experiences, and affords unique opportunities for role play, games, and discovery. We provide examples of teachers’ perceptions of the affordances of dioramas for play and learning, as well as a variety of pedagogical approaches and strategies teachers’ use to bring to life dioramas and the science concepts represented within them. This study highlights how dioramas can be integral in play-based science learning—making museums that are not traditionally designed for children into places for play.
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Desde el 2013, en República Dominicana se declara la primera infancia de alto interés y surgen nuevos programas de atención integral. Este artículo1presenta los resultados de una investigación para responder la pregunta: ¿Cuál es la alineación entre la evidencia investigativa sobre la educación de la primera infancia con la política educativa de República Dominicanay su implementación?Se trianguló información proveniente de: a) un marco conceptual de evidencias, b) el análisis documental de las políticas y su implementación y c) entrevistas a actores clave. Los resultados muestran variabilidad entre la educación obligatoria y las demás modalidades. Se requiere mejorar la alineación con la evidencia en la articulación de las instituciones, cobertura de atención, ingreso del personal docente e infraestructura y seguridad.
Play-based learning is an approach used in early childhood education that is well supported by research on its varieties and effectiveness for young children’s learning. Play-based learning meets the developmental needs of young children, but new research presented in this paper suggests that teenagers learn through play too. The experience of 25 Year 10 students in three Western Australian government schools was drawn upon to generate grounded theory about how students experience their teachers’ expectations of them, which included findings that playful learning approaches communicated high teacher expectations. The students were shadow-studied in their classrooms and interviewed at the end of each day. Teachers were appraised as having high expectations when they included a playful learning approach, characterised as creative, exploratory, hands-on, fun and non-didactic . The students reflected that this led to increased motivation and academic success. A foundation for conceptualising play in teenagers’ education is provided, suggesting how secondary school educators can harness play and communicate high expectations for learning through their pedagogical approach.
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How does parental causal input relate to children's later comprehension of causal verbs? Causal constructions in verbs differ across languages. Turkish has both lexical and morphological causatives. We asked whether (1) parental causal language input varied for different types of play (guided vs. free play), (2) early parental causal language input predicted children's causal verb understanding. Twenty-nine infants participated at three timepoints. Parents used lexical causatives more than morphological ones for guided-play for both timepoints, but for free-play, the same difference was only found at Time 2. For Time 3, children were tested on a verb comprehension and a vocabulary task. Morphological causative input, but not lexical causative input, during free-play predicted children's causal verb comprehension. For guided-play, the same relation did not hold. Findings suggest a role of specific types of causal input on children's understanding of causal verbs that are received in certain play contexts.
Playful learning has garnered supporters and research evidence, and also can be seen as nebulous and, therefore, reliant on practitioners’ intuitions in early education settings. In this paper, we offer an explicit theoretical account, grounded in developmental psychology of how play might support the acquisition of broad skills and dispositions for lifelong learning. We argue that play develops self-regulation and motivation, both of which support the child’s agency in their learning. We discuss a culturally inclusive view of agency that is distinct from autonomy, and which is visible in many existing early childhood pedagogies. We conclude by suggesting practical strategies that educators can adopt to enhance learning through play and children’s agency in their learning.
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Decades of research demonstrate that a strong curricular approach to preschool education is important for later developmental outcomes. Although these findings have often been used to support the implementation of educational programs based on direct instruction, we argue that guided play approaches can be equally effective at delivering content and are more developmentally appropriate in their focus on child-centered exploration. Guided play lies midway between direct instruction and free play, presenting a learning goal, and scaffolding the environment while allowing children to maintain a large degree of control over their learning. The evidence suggests that such approaches often outperform direct-instruction approaches in encouraging a variety of positive academic outcomes. We argue that guided play approaches are effective because they create learning situations that encourage children to become active and engaged partners in the learning process.
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A school became safer after security measures were removed. Children can learn better in playful, rather than didactic, settings. At-risk students earned higher grades after writing about a personal value. A novel construct - mise en place - explains how small changes in context, such as these, can lead to large changes in behaviors by highlighting how the psychology of preparing to act within an environment shapes and is shaped by that environment.
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Pretend play has been claimed to be crucial to children's healthy development. Here we examine evidence for this position versus 2 alternatives: Pretend play is 1 of many routes to positive developments (equifinality), and pretend play is an epiphenomenon of other factors that drive development. Evidence from several domains is considered. For language, narrative, and emotion regulation, the research conducted to date is consistent with all 3 positions but insufficient to draw conclusions. For executive function and social skills, existing research leans against the crucial causal position but is insufficient to differentiate the other 2. For reasoning, equifinality is definitely supported, ruling out a crucially causal position but still leaving open the possibility that pretend play is epiphenomenal. For problem solving, there is no compelling evidence that pretend play helps or is even a correlate. For creativity, intelligence, conservation, and theory of mind, inconsistent correlational results from sound studies and nonreplication with masked experimenters are problematic for a causal position, and some good studies favor an epiphenomenon position in which child, adult, and environment characteristics that go along with play are the true causal agents. We end by considering epiphenomenalism more deeply and discussing implications for preschool settings and further research in this domain. Our take-away message is that existing evidence does not support strong causal claims about the unique importance of pretend play for development and that much more and better research is essential for clarifying its possible role. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
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Spatial skills are a central component of intellect and show marked individual differences. There is evidence that variations in the spatial language young children hear, which directs their attention to important aspects of the spatial environment, may be one of the mechanisms that contributes to these differences. To investigate how play affects variations in language, parents and children were assigned to 1 of 3 conditions: free play with blocks, guided play, or play with preassembled structures (Study 1). Parents in the guided play condition produced significantly higher proportions of spatial talk than parents in the other two conditions, and children in the guided play condition produced significantly more spatial talk than those in the free play condition. Study 2 established baselines of spatial language during activities not involving spatial materials. Proportions of spatial words were lower than those in any of the conditions of Experiment 1. In sum, interaction with blocks naturally elicits elevated levels of spatial language, especially in the context of guided play, suggesting simple-to-execute educational interventions.
Efforts to give preschool children a head start on academic skills like reading and mathematics instead rob them of play time both at home and school. Indeed, the scientific evidence suggests that eliminating play from the lives of children is taking preschool education in the wrong direction. This brief but compelling book provides a strong counterargument to the rising tide of didactic instruction on preschool classrooms. The book presents scientific evidence in support of three points: children need both unstructured free time and playful learning under the gentle guidance of adults to best prepare for entrance into formal school; academic and social development are inextricably intertwined, so academic learning must not trump attention to social development; and learning and play are not incompatible. Rather, playful learning captivates children's minds in ways that support better academic and social outcomes as well as strategies for lifelong learning. This book reviews research supporting playful learning along with succinct policy and practice recommendations that derive from this research. © 2009 by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Laura E. Berk, and Dorothy G. Singer. All rights reserved.
Naturalistic observation of 96 preschoolers permitted categorizing them as either players (displayed make-believe) or nonplayers. All subjects were then exposed to 1 of 3 treatment conditions (free play, imitation, problem solving) and subsequently given an alternate-uses test. Free play enhanced associative fluency, but only for players who actually engaged in make-believe. These findings were interpreted as consistent with the hypothesis that associative fluency is not automatically enhanced by the lack of structure in free-play situations, but that it can be enhanced by the freely assimilative character of make-believe.
Why is it that the best and brightest of our children are arriving at college too burned out to profit from the smorgasbord of intellectual delights that they are offered? Why is it that some preschools and kindergartens have a majority of children struggling to master cognitive tasks that are inappropriate for their age? Why is playtime often considered to be time unproductively spent? In this book, top experts in child development and learning contend that the answers to these questions stem from a single source: in the rush to create a generation of Einsteins, our culture has forgotten about the importance of play for children's development. Presenting a powerful argument about the pervasive and long-term effects of play, Singer, Golinkoff, and Hirsh-Pasek urge researchers and practitioners to reconsider the ways play facilitates development across domains. Over forty years of developmental research indicates that play has enormous benefits to offer children, not the least of which is physical activity in this era of obesity and hypertension. Play provides children with the opportunity to maximize their attention spans, learn to get along with peers, cultivate their creativity, work through their emotions, and gain the academic skills that are the foundation for later learning. Using a variety of methods and studying a wide range of populations, the contributors to this volume demonstrate the powerful effects of play in the intellectual, social, and emotional spheres. This book will be an important resource for students and researchers in developmental psychology. Its research-based policy recommendations will be valuable to teachers, counselors, and school psychologists in their quest to reintroduce play and joyful learning into our school rooms and living rooms. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Active, constructive, and interactive are terms that are commonly used in the cognitive and learning sciences. They describe activities that can be undertaken by learners. However, the literature is actually not explicit about how these terms can be defined; whether they are distinct; and whether they refer to overt manifestations, learning processes, or learning outcomes. Thus, a framework is provided here that offers a way to differentiate active, constructive, and interactive in terms of observable overt activities and underlying learning processes. The framework generates a testable hypothesis for learning: that interactive activities are most likely to be better than constructive activities, which in turn might be better than active activities, which are better than being passive. Studies from the literature are cited to provide evidence in support of this hypothesis. Moreover, postulating underlying learning processes allows us to interpret evidence in the literature more accurately. Specifying distinct overt activities for active, constructive, and interactive also offers suggestions for how learning activities can be coded and how each kind of activity might be elicited.