Socio Dramatic Play in Early Childhood Education Research Proposal

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Socio Dramatic Play In Early Childhood Education

The importance of socio dramatic play in early education has been a subject of discussion and analysis for many behavior theoreticians and, although there always seems to have been enough done in this area, the diversity of the human individuals and the capacity of the child to always surprise during his development period makes it an interesting subject to be tackled. Seen as "behaviors children use to transform the identities of objects, actions, and people" (Pellegrini, 1985), dramatic play has a substantial role in the early development of the individual.

The paper will aim to have a closer focus on particular aspects of the socio dramatic play in early childhood. First of all, we will aim to examine closer how elements from reality (including characters, objects etc.) are incorporated into the child's play in early childhood. At the same time, we will aim to focus also on the relationships that are developing within the group of children, as this is formed during the socio dramatic play. In our opinion, such relationships are relevant to the future development of the individual and to the roles he or she will be willing to assume later in society (leader vs. follower etc.). From this perspective, the study seems to bring added value on socio dramatic play in early childhood.

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The independent and dependent variables can also be defined, in this case, in terms of input and output. As such, the independent variable, answering the question What do I change?, is also the input variable. Given the previous paragraph and the identification of those area the study will focus on, the question What do I change?, can simply be answered with the inputs. In this case, the inputs are the elements from the outside world, as they are presented to the child. For example, if the child will be taken to a puppet show, the puppets will be the independent variable.

TOPIC: Research Proposal on Socio Dramatic Play in Early Childhood Education Assignment

On the other hand, the dependent variable is the behavior of the child and, more specifically, the way that he integrates the independent variable (the puppets, in the case previously mentioned, but also the animals from the pet shop or actual activities, such as running the pet shop or being a puppeteer), into his socio dramatic games. At the same time, the dependent variable is also the way the integration of a new character or object from the existing reality is likely to influence the relationship between the children involved in the socio dramatic play, as the second objective of our study.

The latter will probably be a more difficult observation to be recorded in a quantitative measurement, since it will rely very much not only on how often this happens, but on the underlying significance of the act at hand and of the social relationships between the children. It will also be important to determine whether or not that comes as a natural reflection of the integration of the element and characters from the real world or, in fact, from the capacity to be a leader/follower at all times. Even more importantly, this could also be due to the child's own natural characteristics rather than to the influences of the elements adopted from reality. Indeed, we do not know (and the study will not focus on this) whether leadership qualities are genetic or they come as a reaction of the interaction between a child/individual and society or the social relations that are formed between individuals.

This brings us to some of the limitations of the study. The study is obviously limited in its capacity of drawing a strict correlation between the inputs and the outputs. As previously mentioned, it is reasonable to believe that some of the reactions within the group are actually determined by the input of elements from the two field trips that will be used in the study. However, it is also reasonable to assume that they may not and the statistical perspective that will be used will not necessarily make light into this.

Review of Literature

The literature in the area of socio dramatic play in early childhood education is vast. Starting with Piaget, who has defined socio dramatic play as "the most highly developed form of symbolic play between two and seven years of age" (Piaget, 1962), socio dramatic play has been acknowledged as one of the defining moments in child education, with numerous reverberations in the future individual behavior.

Byrne, Deerr and Kropp (2003) have emphasized the role that socio dramatic play has in the social and cognitive development of the child as the primary educational activity during this period of life (Vygotsky, 1978). In fact, there were studies drawing on a distinct correlation between dramatic play in early childhood and the effect this has on early childhood emergent literacy (Fein, 1981).

The assumption of fantasy roles is obviously critical in socio dramatic play and several authors, notably Dickinson and Tabors or Smilansky (Dickinson & Tabors, 2001; Smilansky, 1968) discuss these aspects.

At the same time, Warash and Workman (1993) have shown that even if the socio dramatic play starts at an early age, often as early as two years old, the peak of such game play between the child and other children or the interacting adults is not usually reached until the age of four or five.

As the children reach that age, the socio dramatic play becomes more elaborate, with real objects becoming animate rather than inanimate actors in the drama (Berk and Winsler, 1995) and the children tend to transpose their recorded observations of activities and functions in the real world into their own action plays. Vykotsgian (1978) also has some useful work in this area.

Following on the leads mentioned above, Van Scoy (1995) draws the conclusion that exposing the children to such element that they can use in their socio dramatic plays will encourage their cognitive development and is thus a positive thing. The number of experiences induces knowledge and cognitive development, in his opinion, for the young child.

Many of the studies described and discussed in this literature review are fundamental in providing the necessary background for the study at hand, as well as to point out towards means of observation, the way that elements from the real world are integrated in child play etc.

Statement of Hypotheses and Operational Definitions

The main hypothesis we will try to examine in this case is the fact that the incorporation of elements from the real world into the socio dramatic play of early childhood is real, immediate and has an important role in the play itself. At the same time, we will also aim to show that socio dramatic play is important in creating the character of the child and that the roles he is assuming in the socio dramatic play will also affect the roles he will be willing to play later in life. Tying these two hypotheses, we will aim to examine how the incorporation of elements from the real world into socio dramatic play affects the future role that children are likely to take in society.

The main instrument of measure will be direct observation. First of all, a note is necessary on this particular study. As most of the time with behaviorism, it is often difficult to associate quantitative measures to the analysis and study. The quantitative measures, in our case, will be sufficient only to determine what proportion of the selected group reacts in a certain way and what proportion reacts in a different manner.

At the same time, qualitative research and qualitative measuring is essential here, because it will be based on direct observation of how the children, part of the experiment, react to the external stimuli mentioned. While we will also use quantitative and statistical measurement to determine the outcome in several of the socio dramatic plays, such as how many times child X will assume a leadership position and when does this usually happen (in terms of what character or element from reality induces this), we will focus more on observing how these elements are integrated into the socio dramatic play.

Methods and Procedures

1) for a relevant study, we will select a kindergarten class of small children (preferably around 3 to 4 -5 years old, when, as we have previously seen, the socio dramatic play is most developed), number anywhere close to 10 members. The selection will be so as to have the numbers reasonably split between girls and boys, as it will be probably interesting to determine how sex affects the behavior of the child during socio dramatic play as well. This is not entirely necessary, as one also has the option of analyzing the behavior and socio dramatic play within the same type of sex group.

2) the measures to be used will include simple measures, such as how many times child X assumes a leadership position in the game, and this should be correlated with the character or element from reality that was… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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