After our discussion assignments this week, I was really moved to learn more about the research relating to the importance of play in the early childhood years. Since I am focusing on the NAEYC's website for e-newsletters and current issues in the field, I thought how appropriate to read about how to effectively assess a child's play experiences to ensure learning is taking place. In perusing the January issue of Young Children, I stumbled upon an article that discusses assessment and scaffolding in make-believe play experiences (Leong & Bodrova, 2012). The research in this article continues to support the positive effects that well-developed play has on different areas of child development, such as social interactions, emerging mathematical ability, early literacy concepts, and self-regulation. The article also shows a chart that identifies stages of development within a child's play patterns. The concept explained in the chart is known as an acronym, "PRoPELS" standing for how a child Plans, develops Roles, uses Props, how long the play Extends in terms of timeframe, Language used in the play experience, and the Scenarios acted out in the make-believe play. This idea really gives educators something to focus on when observing children in their play experiences.
Something that stood out to me in this article was the idea that same-age classroom set-ups can actually hurt a child's development, whereas in mixed age groups, children can learn how to play from one another. For example, when a 3 year old and 5 year old are together in a group, the 5 year old may be able to guide the 3 year old differently than an adult might guide the play experience (Leong & Bodrova, 2012). I always thought the most benefit to children was to be within 6 months of each other in a class (since that is how our program works). However, after reading this statement it is clear that this could be an unintended consequence of this type of set-up in a program.
The NAEYC January 2012 e-newsletter also had an article that supports how politicians, neuroscientists, and economists have an impact on early childhood. I noticed a research article from the Center for Applied Research at NAEYC that discussed Kindergarten assessments. According to Snow (2011), in the last decade, policy discussions of assessment in early childhood systems have grown, reflecting the increasing demand for accountability in the elementary and secondary public education system as well as increased state funds for prekindergarten programs. This is important to reflect upon as many of my colleagues discussed in our posts that we need local politicians to listen to the research information to increase the funding in early childhood programs.
I will definitely continue to pay attention to the articles presented by the NAEYC as this class has brought me a wealth of knowledge about the importance of advocating to local politicians for early childhood program funding.
Leong, D.J., Bodrova, E. (2012). Assessing and scaffolding make-believe play. Retrieved from
Snow, K. (2011). Developing kindergarten readiness and other large-scale assessment systems: Necessary
considerations in the assessment of young children. Washington, DC: National Association for the
Education of Young Children. Retrieved January 28, 2012 from