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Pretend Play In Child Development

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In general, playing is the mutual popular activity among children because playing is fun and flexible, it can be personal, with the presence of others or with the social presence of others (De Kort & Ijsselsteijn, 2008). The researchers and experts believe that the power of play has an important psychological role in children’s development, as reinforced by Sutton-Smith (1993, p. 279) using “play as progress” and “play ethos” by Peter Smith (1988, p. 166) both cited in Pellegrini (1995). Goldstein (2012) stated that pretend play is one of the common types of interactive social play among 2- to 6-years-old children. He also mentioned that as children grow, the nature and function of pretend play will also change from simple imitation to more …show more content…
Cohen, Onunaku, Clothier, and Poppe, (2005) enlightened that social-emotional development is one’s 1) ability to experience, express and manage the full range of positive emotion and negative emotion; 2) ability to establish a positive and sustaining relationships with others; 3) ability to enthusiastically explore the environment. Researchers suggested that pretend play facilitate problem-solving skills and perspective-taking skills that lead to positive emotional and social development of a child (Hartup, 1994; McArdle, 2001). This essay evaluates the role of pretend play in improving children’s socio-emotional development.

First and foremost, a recent study by researcher Lindsey and Colwell (2013) had conducted a correlation study to investigate the association between type of play and socio-emotional development of children. This study has supported the notion that pretends play can improve the socio-emotional development of a child. Specifically, the association between types of play (pretend play and physical play) and affective social competence (ASC) of children at a different age. ASC is a …show more content…
(2011) does not fully agree with pretend play is essential for children’s development due to the lacking in reliability and validity from the literature review. They used 2 alternative explanation on the relationship between pretend play and children’s development. First, “equifinality” which stated that “pretend play is one of the many routes to positive developments”. Second, the play does not contribute to development but it is just a “by-product” or “epiphenomenon” of another actual factor. In order to make their stance clear, Lillart et al. (2011) breakdown and examine individual elements of pretend play in different views- such as emotion regulation and social skill. They argued that while social competence is associated with ToM ability, however, Stagnitti and Unsworth (2000) has claimed that children in solitary play also have the same social competence. They can pretend and solve problems as children in the pretend play, thus improving their social skills. Many researchers agree that pretend play is crucial in emotional competence, however, the inconsistency in correlational studies suggested that there might be another factor that mediates the relationship (Bergen, 2002; Hirsh-Pasek et al., 2009). From the studies, it is clear that the linkage between pretend play and socio-emotional development is not very firm anymore thus more research is needed to prove the

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