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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


Higher Order Play and Its Role in Development and Education 4645


Saifer S.
EdD, Director of the Child and Family Program of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, Portland, Oregon (USA), Portland, USA

This paper focuses on the role of play in children’s development and as a curricular strategy in an attempt to come to terms with the problem that play is increasingly seen as superfluous for learning, while increasingly viewed as vital for development. The author provides a critical analysis of Vygotsky’s theory of play and the “common” view of the cognitive trajectory of play in development that all forms of play in early childhood lead to games and sports or better social skills in later life. An alternative, bilateral theory of play is presented, postulating that two types of play in early childhood, skill-based play and higher order play (sustained make-believe play involving roles, a scenario, and verbal/social interaction) each lead to different development outcomes: games/sports and higher order thinking respectively. An argument is made for higher order play as a key strategy for good teaching in any grade.

Keywords: play, make-believe play, dramatic play, preschool, cognitive development, self-regulation, Vygotsky

Column: Play in the Life of a Modern Child

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