Numerical Conceptions Reflected During Multiage Child-Initiated Pretend Play

Emfinger, Kay
December 2009
Journal of Instructional Psychology;Dec2009, Vol. 36 Issue 4, p326
Academic Journal
Much research has pointed to the importance of pretend play as a facilitator of literacy development. However, few studies have investigated the corresponding role of so-ciodramatic play in mathematical development. This exploratory naturalistic study examined the numerate behaviors that occurred during spontaneous pretend play in a preschool through fifth-grade multiage summer enrichment program. A twelve-hour video segment of children's play in the drama center was transcribed and analyzed to identify numerical conceptions. The findings indicate that children's play included the following authentic mathematical behaviors: one-to-one correspondence, counting, adding, subtracting, and representing number via written and spoken signs and symbols. The results suggest pretend play provides a context that facilitates children's numerate behaviors and thus validates play as a curricular component.


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