ERIC Number: ED206374
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981
Reference Count: N/A
The Symbolic Play of Lower-Class and Middle-Class Children: Mixed Messages From the Literature.
The findings of nine studies comparing the symbolic play of middle-class and lower-class children are summarized and examined in detail. Related research problems are discussed and directions for future research are indicated. Examination of the studies indicated that few general conclusions can be drawn from them about the relative quality of symbolic play among lower-class and middle-class children. However, there is agreement among studies that the content of play themes and roles is the same among middle-class and lower-class children, and that the amount of verbalization is greater among middle-class than lower-class children. More investigators report that group play is more prevalent among middle-class than lower-class children; more report that "persig" play (often called role-differentiation and similar to what Piaget called collective symbolism) is more prevalent among middle-class than lower-class children; and more report that middle-class children are more likely to use semi- and non-representative as well as imaginary signifiers than lower-class children, while lower-class children are more likely to use representative signifiers than middle-class children. Concerning the relative cognitive maturity of the play of the two populations, no general conclusions can be drawn. Other factors which may have affected the studies' results are suggested and the need for a more holistic, integrative, and qualitative approach is indicated. (Author/RH)
Descriptors: Cognitive Ability, Comparative Analysis, Cultural Differences, Disadvantaged Youth, Dramatic Play, Early Childhood Education, Literature Reviews, Lower Class, Middle Class, Pretend Play, Research Problems, Social Differences, Social Influences, Young Children
Ablex Publishing Corporation, 355 Chestnut Street, Norwood, NJ 07648 (Contact publisher for price).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; ERIC Publications
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Elementary and Early Childhood Education, Urbana, IL.