Multiple Perspectives on Play in Early Childhood Education

Edited by Olivia N. Saracho & Bernard Spodek

Subjects: Early Childhood Studies
Series: SUNY series, Early Childhood Education: Inquiries and Insights
Paperback : 9780791436165, 344 pages, January 1998
Hardcover : 9780791436158, 344 pages, January 1998

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Table of contents


Introduction: Play in Early Childhood Education
Olivia N. Saracho and Bernard Spodek

1. A Historical Overview of Theories of Play
Olivia N. Saracho and Bernard Spodek

2. Playing with a Theory of Mind
Angeline S. Lillard

3. The Social Origins of Mind: Post-Piagetian Perspectives on Pretend Play
Larry Smolucha and Francine Smolucha

4. Seeing through Symbols: The Development of Children's Understanding of Symbolic Relations
David H. Uttal, Donald P. Marzolf, Sophia L. Pierroutsakos, Catherine M. Smith, Georgene L. Troseth, Kathryn V. Scudder, and Judy S. DeLoache

5. The Development of Pretense and Narrative in Early Childhood
Robert D. Kavanaugh and Susan Engel

6. Play as an Opportunity for Literacy
Kathleen Roskos and Susan B. Neuman

7. Play and Social Competence
Gary L. Creasey, Patricia A. Jarvis, and Laura E. Berk

8. Social and Nonsocial Play in Childhood: An Individual Differences Perspective
Kenneth H. Rubin and Robert J. Coplan

9. Play in Special Populations
Fergus P. Hughes

10. The Cultural Contexts of Children's Play
Jaipaul L. Roopnarine, Jennifer Lasker, Megan Sacks, and Marshall Stores

11. Play and the Assessment of Young Children
A. D. Pellegrini

12. What Is Stylish about Play?
Olivia N. Saracho

13. Physical Environments and Children's Play
Joe L. Frost, Dongju Shin, and Paul J. Jacobs

14. Real and Not Real: A Vital Developmental Dichotomy
Brian Vandenberg


Subject Index

Author Index

While teachers value children's play, they often do not know how to guide that play to make it more educational. This volume reflects current research in the child development and early childhood education fields.


Play has been part of early childhood programs since the initial kindergarten developed by Friedreich Froebel more than one hundred and fifty years ago. While research shows that most teachers value children's play, they often do not know how to guide that play to make it more educational. Too often, in reflecting the value of child-initiated activities, teachers set the stage for children's play, observe it, but hesitate to intervene in that play. They may fear that to intervene is to create a developmentally inappropriate set of educational practices. However, the lack of intervention may limit the educational outcomes of play. Meanwhile, a large body of research exists on different forms of children's play in educational settings that could inform teachers of young children and help them to improve their practice and support more educational play. Saracho and Spodek bring together much of that research in an accessible volume for early childhood teachers and teacher educators.

Olivia N. Saracho is Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Maryland. Bernard Spodek is Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Illinois. Saracho and Spodek have written several books together, including Right From the Start: Teaching Children Ages Three to Eight and Dealing with Individual Differences in the Early Childhood Classroom.


"While reading, I folded the corners of pages I wanted to reread. I found I have many pages with turned corners! The inclusion of the many different perspectives on play (social, literacy, environment, cultural, cognitive) in a single edited volume is helpful. " — Carol Vukelich, University of Delaware