Children at Play

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Children At Play: Actual vs. Dramatic
One of the signs of early childhood development is the ability to engage in play. Young children (ages 4-6) prefer non structured environments that gives them the “freedom” to un-limit their play in different settings. Working with preschoolers for over five years, I am fascinated to learn all the different ways children play to learn. I understand every child has their unique talents and skills that makes them individuals. It is important to sketch out different play strategies for children and their desired interests. The goal is to answer the question: what way do children learn the best; actual or dramatic. As a teacher and a “researcher” I define play as actual play and dramatic play. Actual play refers to children playing on factual basis. Examples are board games, toys and other mechanical toys that children interact with (leap frog, baking toys, kitchen play centers.) Dramatic play refers to pretend play. Examples are pretending to be characters from a movie, story book, etc. I believe with business markets introducing new and enhanced technological toys, children will learn and show more interest in actual play rather than dramatic play. These two constructs will be used in this research respective to the fourteen participants in the study. The participants consists of six girls and eight boys ages 5 (there is only one 4.5 year old in the class.)

There is much debate about teacher intervention during a child’s dramatic play. Mellou and Eleni analyze a child’ creativity through dramatic play from three various perspectives. They discuss instances where teacher intervention might affect a child’s dramatic play negatively (Mellou & Eleni, 1994). For example a child is wanting to play a certain character in a particular way but the teacher does not deem it appropriate and guides the child to play the character however she wants. Another instance Mellou and Eleni discuss is to maintain a balance between...
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