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Developmental Stages of Play

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Samantha DeBellis

on 12 March 2014

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Transcript of Developmental Stages of Play

Developmental Stages of Play
Literature Review
Our Study
Results and Discussion
What are the Stages of Play as Defined by Parten?
Defined by Mildred Parten in 1932 to describe and characterize play in developing children
Presented by: Ellie, Ashley, Samantha & Tony
Parten concluded that as children grow older and improve communicative and social skills social play becomes more common while nonsocial play become less common

Child intently plays with toys alone
Shows little interest in other children
May be unaware of the activity of others around them
More common in young children aged 2-3
Child watches others play but does not engage in play
Child may discuss the play they are observing but they make no attempt to join the activity
More common in children aged 2-3
Children sit near each other and use the same or similar toys
One child may mimic the actions of another
Children may talk aloud to each other but not about the same topic
Parallel play is viewed as a transitory stage between nonsocial and social types of play
Common in children aged 3-4
The child is engaged in an organized activity with one or more social partners
Children interact freely and share toys
Children may adopt certain roles or form some group identity
Social play requires the most social maturity
Includes organized games like tag and role playing games
Common in children aged 4 and up
According to Parten's theory what type of play behaviours can we expect to see in 2 year old children versus 4 year old children?
Typical Social Development of Children 2 Years of Age
Typical Social Development of Children 4 Years of Age
Social-Cognitive Play Patterns in Same-Age and Mixed-Age Preschool Classrooms
Does age composition of the preschool classroom affect the social-cognitive play initiations of young children?
Social-cognitive modes of preschoolers’ play will be more beneficial in mixed-age classrooms due to adaptational advantages through mixed-age socialization since mixed-age classrooms are said to facilitate vocabulary acquisition and improve role-taking and tutoring skills

Class 1&2

40 children, 3 years of age
Class 3&4

32 children, 4 years of age
Class 5&6

36 children, 3 & 4 years of age
Each class was composed of at least
Using Parten's social play categories—parallel, solitary, interactive—in combination with Smilansky’s cognitive play categories—manipulative, constructive, and dramatic— researchers observed children for 10 5 minute sessions during free play
Researchers produced a hierarchy of play categories in which play becomes socially mature followed by becoming cognitively mature
parallel dramatic
interactive dramatic
for example:
solitary dramatic
The responses of peers to the target’s interactive modes of play were recorded in three categories
1. Reject: child responds to the target child by refusing to cooperate
2. Cooperate: child responds positively, agreeing to engage in play with his or her peer
3. Ignore: child ignores target child by gaze aversion or moving away
Three-year olds
in general tended to engage in different modes of
play while
were more likely to engage in different modes of
Three-year-olds in same-age classrooms were more likely to engage in parallel-manipulative play than 3-year-olds in mixed-age classrooms
less likely
to engage in the
least mature
level of play and more likely to engage in constructive play than their counterparts in the same-age classrooms
Three-year-olds in mixed-age classrooms engaged in more parallel-constructive, interactive-constructive, and solitary-constructive play than 3-year-olds in same-age classrooms
What does all of this mean?
3-year-olds in a mixed-age
setting showed a tendency to engage in “
more mature
” forms of play than 3-year-olds enrolled in same-age classrooms
& 2
Children were 2 years and 2 months to 3 years and 1 month old
& 2
Children were 3 years and 2 months to 6 years and 1 month old
Typical teacher to child ratio was 1:3 in both classes
Children were observed during scheduled child-initiated play time where they could chose who they wanted to interact with and choose to play with any of the available toys or do arts and crafts
The classrooms were both clean, bright, interactive spaces with plenty of toys for children to play with
All children seemed to enjoy being in their classes and were engaged in the same daily routines
The recorded play types of children were operationalized following Parten’s (1932) stages of play and time codes were used to record the duration of each of the following behaviours:
Solitary (independent play): The child is playing alone and takes no interest in other children
Onlooker: The child watches or takes interest in others at play but does not engage with them
Parallel: Children may be sharing the same toys or engaging in similar play beside each other but are still not playing with each other
Social: Children are actively engaging in play together

Each child was observed for 2 10 minutes sessions during a 40 minute child initiated play period
A Longitudinal Study of Social Participation in Preschool Children: Solitary and Parallel Play Reexamined
How does time spent in solitary, parallel, and group play change over a 9-month time period in preschool-aged children?
2 groups of 24 children were observed between the ages of 24 and 48 months
& 12
/ group
50% of the children in each group were younger than months and 50% were over 33 months of age
Every morning each child was observed for 4 40 second periods and social behaviour during play was categorized under 1 of 4 of the following:
Group play: child is interacting with one or more other children in the nature of the activity (visually, verbally, or though the organization of a game)
Parallel play: child is in close proximity to one or more other children who are engaged in similar behaviour, and/or sharing of toys
Adult play: child is engaged in group or parallel play with an adult
Solitary play: child is engaged in play alone. This category also encompassed onlooker play
Occupied: child is engaged in active use of object, or engaged in motor activity, or engaged in social interaction
Unoccupied: None of the above (e.g. wandering, watching others, or just holding toy)
Overall, there is a consistent increase in group play, and a decrease in solitary and unoccupied behaviour, with no significant changes to parallel interactions over the 9-month time period
Children were grouped based on the following categories which were used to make statistical inferences:
Type A started in group play and for the most part stayed in group play
Type B started in solitary or parallel, and transitioned into group play, either directly or by transitioning through parallel play
Type C started in solitary or parallel and did not make any transition into group play
Type A children were found to be significantly older than Type B and C children while type B and C children did not differ significantly in age.
Older children engaged less in solitary play, though percent of unoccupied behavior in solitary play did not differ significantly between Types
Solitary play behvaiour decreases significantly through preschool age
Parallel play is the more dominant play behavior in 2 year olds, and younger 3 year olds
Parallel play is found throughout all preschool ages, declining very little
Most 3 and 4 year olds move from solitary play right into group play behavior, without having a phase of predominant parallel play
Our Question
Is there an age difference between toddlers and pre-school children in the form of play they exhibit?
What do we expect to find?
We hypothesize that children between the ages of 2 and 3 will display more solitary play while children aged 4 to 5 will demonstrate more social play.
There was no significant difference between toddlers and preschool aged children in solitary, onlooker or parallel play displayed
We found that there was a significant difference in the duration of time that toddlers and preschool aged children engaged in social play with preschoolers spending more time than toddlers engaged in social play.
Any questions or comments?
Thanks for listening!
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