ERIC Number: EJ738494
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Sep
The Importance of Play: Why Children Need to Play
Bodrova, Elena; Leong, Deborah J.
Early Childhood Today, v20 n1 p6-7 Sep 2005
In this article, the authors discuss the important role of dramatic ("pretend") play in early childhood with increasing emphasis at school on developing academic skills in children at younger and younger ages. Play is especially beneficial to children's learning when it reaches a certain degree of sophistication. In other words, "unproductive" play happens not only when children fight and argue when "mommy" keeps performing the same routines with her "baby" day after day with no change. By contrast, play that has a potential for fostering many areas of young children's social and cognitive development has the following characteristics: Children create a pretend scenario by negotiating and talking with peers, and they use props in a symbolic way. Children create specific roles--and rules--for pretend behavior and they adopt multiple themes and multiple roles. Early childhood classrooms provide a unique setting to foster the kind of dramatic play that will lead to cognitive and social maturity. There are other children to play with, a setting that can be organized to encourage imaginative play, and adults who can encourage the play, guiding children to play effectively with each other. Indeed, this is the cornerstone for all learning.
Descriptors: Play, Young Children, Skill Development, Interpersonal Competence, Cognitive Development, Early Childhood Education, Child Development, Role Playing
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Early Childhood Education
Authoring Institution: N/A