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Psychological Science and Education

Publisher: Moscow State University of Psychology and Education

ISSN (printed version): 1814-2052

ISSN (online): 2311-7273


License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Started in 1996

Published 6 times a year

Free of fees
Open Access Journal


The Structure and Variants of a Preschooler’s Narrative Play 304

Smirnova E.O., Doctor in Psychology, Director of the Center of Play and Toys, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Professor, Chair of Preschool Pedagogic and Psychology, Department of Educational Psychology, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia,
Ryabkova I.A., Ph. D. student at the Preschool pedagogy and psychology chair, Educational psychology faculty; educational psychologist at the Moscow State Centre for Psychological and Pedagogical Expertise of Games and Toys of the Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia,
The paper discusses the concept of children’s play in a broad and narrow sense. In a broad sense, play is viewed as a free, emotionally-charged activity without enforcement that includes spontaneous testing of oneself and play content. A more accurate scientific definition of play was suggested by D. B. Elkonin who regarded the action role play as the highest and most developed play form which reproduces social relationships among people. The authors believe that the latter does not cover many widespread kinds of narrative (action) play where the children do not simulate the actions of adults. Therefore, following L. S. Vygotsky, the divergence between the imaginary and real situations is considered to be the main criterion of narrative play as the leading activity of a preschooler. The structure of narrative play is believed to include additional components: objects (toys), time and space of the play, interaction with the partner and the position of the player. Based on different player’s positions, a typology of narrative plays is proposed. It includes seven variants: traditional role play, role play via a toy, individual role play, directed individual and directed joint plays, procedural play, and event-driven play where the child is acting from a real position. Recognition of the imaginary situation as the main criteria of play makes it possible to consider those play types as independent forms of a preschooler’s leading activity.

Keywords: play, narrative play, imaginary situation, play structure, objects of play, space and time of play, interaction of partners, directed play, event-driven play

Column: Play in the Life of a Modern Child

For Reference

  1. Berlyand, I. Ye. The play as a phenomenon of the consciousness. Kemerovo, 1992.
  2. Vygotsky, L. S. The Psychology of Child Development. Moscow, 2004.
  3. Korotkova, N. S., Kirillov, I. A mock-up model as a subject area environment for a narrative play of kindergarten-age children // Preschool education. 1997. № 6.
  4. Pivnenko, T.V. Psychological boundaries of "I" in the play of peer-rejected children. Resume of the Ph. D. Thesis in psychological sciences. Moscow, 2008.
  5. Elkonin, D. B. The Psychology of Play. Мoscow, 1978.
  6. Elkoninova, L. I. The studies developing D. B. Elconin’s tradition at the Chair of Age-specific Psychology // Moscow psychological school. The history and current status. Vol. 4 / Gen. ed. V. V. Rubtsov. Moscow, 2007.
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