ERIC Number: ED175562
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Jun
Play Styles in Early Childhood: Continuity and Change as a Function of Sex.
Fagot, Beverly I.
The continuity of play styles of preschool children over a 1-year period was observed and related to teacher and peer reinforcement patterns influenced by sex stereotypes. Sixty-seven children, aged 18 months to 58 months, were observed in a natural setting using a behavior checklist consisting of 33 child behavior categories and 15 teacher- and peer-reaction categories. Each child in the study was observed for at least 40 hours, with 12 observations per hour. Data from the upper and lower 25% of the children on each of seven factors (derived from a factor analysis of the 33 behavior scores) were examined for continuity between the first and last 10 weeks of the children's participation in the study. The results indicate that certain play styles show stability for all children, while others change over time. The behaviors which change are those behaviors for which peers or teachers are giving an unusual amount of feedback to one group of children. For example, teachers had an extremely high rate of initiation activity towards passive children. Also, peers successfully exerted pressure to change a child's behavior, as in the case of boys who were initially low on male-preferred or high on female-preferred activities. Peers did not, however, exert negative pressure on girls who were high on the male-preferred activities or low on the female-preferred activities. Such girls show high stability in play style even though their behavior does not fit the traditional stereotypes. On the other hand, teachers gave girls with high activity levels more negative feedback, and these girls show low stability on this factor. Participation in solitary activities appears to be independent of feedback. (Author/SS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the meeting of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development (Lund, Sweden, June 25-29, 1979)