What is the role of make-believe play in children's cognitive and socioemotional development? Analyse the positions of Piaget and Vygotsky, giving particular attention to Vygotskian concepts of the ZPD and internalisation.
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Question 1: What is the role of make-believe play in children's cognitive and socioemotional development? Analyse the positions of Piaget and Vygotsky, giving particular attention to Vygotskian concepts of the ZPD and internalisation. Play can be defined as the combination of sensory exploration and motor skills (gross and fine), which inevitably lead to the cultivation of intellectual and socio-emotional abilities. Make-believe play fosters this cultivation in an imaginary environment, making use of pre-determined roles and rules and utilizes objects symbolically. Play through pretence is an important aspect in children's cognitive and socioemotional development. It allows children to create safe paradigms in which they have the control and ultimately determine the outcome. This is an important component of self-esteem, self-concept and self-regulation. Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky hold opposing theories in relation to the role of make-believe play in children's development. Piaget believed play parallels development, while Vygotsky theorized play promotes development. While there are facets of both Piaget and Vygotsky's work that complement the ideology surrounding make-believe play, it is Vygotsky's work that has greatly contributed to the advancement in understanding of the framework within this most important time of a child's development. According to Vygotsky, constructive play encourages cognitive and socioemotional development. (Bodrova et al, 1996) Vygotsky argued play promotes development in three distinctive characteristics. Firstly, play creates a ZPD and promotes internalisation.
Piaget theorized that developmental milestones are a direct result of children's actions on their physical world. This involved the identification of challenging situations and the development of problem solving skills, so that they eventually meld with their external reality. Piaget's theory, works through a series of direct interactions between the child and its environment. This evolutionary process involves adaptation, assimilation and accommodation. Piaget notes that organization is the final stage in this developmental process. Piaget perceived play as a method which children use to develop their cognitive abilities and to practice their emergently cultivated capabilities. Piaget also perceived play as a child's adaptation to the world around them (their paradigm) through application of assimilation. Fitting in new ideas, objects and situations into their existing thought patterns or schema. Piaget asserted "...in play, assimilation predominates over accommodation and therefore, play does not significantly promote the child's cognitive development." (Vialle, Lysaght, & Verenikina, 2002, p.41) Piaget's theory includes the concept of compensation or child coping mechanisms through play, which Piaget did not acknowledge to be part of substantial development. In this regard children are simply redefining an unpleasant situation. Piaget claimed that there are three stages in the development of play; imitative or purposeful play, imaginary play, and play with rules. Each stage linking with a stage in Piaget's theory of child development, practice play connecting with the sensorimotor phase, symbolic play relating to the preoperational phase, and conventional play linking to the concrete operational phase.
In addition, as the development increases the child's self view in the fantasy alters. It no longer needs to be egocentric, but now the child can view themselves as both recipient and agent. (Berk, 2000) According to Leong and Bodrova (2001), providing children with the opportunity of fantasy play and multi-purpose props can further develop children's imagination and creativity. Unlike Piaget, Vygotsky's ZPD is bi-directional which allows for internal reflection or metacognition. This view allows children to learn through self-correction. Self-correction may be without adult guidance. This is in direct opposition to Piaget whose theory of assimilation, which revolves around trying to make new situations fit pre-existing ideas, in make-believe play. While there is natural symbiosis between Piaget and Vygotsky's ideas, it is Vygotsky who offers a more flexible theory of make-believe play in children's cognitive and socio-emotional development. Vygotsky formulated and hypothesized that children are able to work beyond their individual level of development with scaffolding and adult or peer guidance. Both Vygotsky and Piaget believed through play children can discover the world, formulate opinions and impart some meaning to their ever-changing view of the world. Although Piaget' ideas regarding child development were revolutionary, it is Vygotsky who is more important in the field of child psychology. Vygotsky's creations of the ZPD and concept of internalisation have transformed modern ways of thinking. Rosemarie Pollum EDUF111 Essay 2 2003 Student no. 2607360 Tutorial time Tuesday 9.30am to 10.30am Pauline Lysaght
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