Thursday, February 7, 2013

Activating the Imagination: Learning and Pretend Play

As a force for early learning, DuPage Children's Museum brings the latest research through many avenues.  Our Early Learning Research in Action Council (ELRAC) helps us put the latest research into action.  For example, an excerpt from an article in Psychology Today is provided.  

Many people often think of play in the form of images of young children at recess engaging in games of tag, ball, using slides, swings, and physically exploring their environments. But physical play is not the only kind of play. We often use the terms pretend play or make-believe play (the acting out of stories which involve multiple perspectives and the playful manipulation of ideas and emotions) that reflect a critical feature of the child’s cognitive and social development. Over the last seventy-five years a number of theorists and researchers have identified the values of such imaginative play as a vital component to the normal development of a child.
Studio programming at DCM includes opportunities for dramatic play.
Systematic research has increasingly demonstrated a series of clear benefits of children’s engagement in pretend games from the ages of about two and one half through ages six or seven. Actual studies have demonstrated cognitive benefits such as increases in language usage including subjunctives, future tenses, and adjectives. The important concept of “theory of mind,” an awareness that one’s thoughts may differ from those of other persons  and that there are a variety of perspectives of which each of us is capable, is closely related to  imaginative play (Jenkins & Astington, 2000; Leslie, 1987; Singer & Singer, 1990; Singer & Singer, 2005).

For more information about DCM’s Early Learning Research and Action council, follow this link:
More links on the benefits of dramatic play:  

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