The existing conditions of a minimally equipped outdoor laboratory preschool environment in the northeastern United States were modified by adding housekeeping equipment, constructive equipment (blocks and trucks), or the combined housekeeping and constructive equipment under controlled conditions. The high level pretense, high level constructive, and cross-gender play behaviors of 18 children (g=7, b=11, m age=53 months) were studied through event sampling in the respective conditions. Investigators also recorded other play behaviors and interviewed children and teachers. Statistical analyses produced four significant findings: 1) boys and girls did not differ in the amount of high level pretense play events during the entire experimental period over all conditions, although they did differ in their amount of cross-gender play, with girls exhibiting more than boys; 2)boys and girls did not differ in the amount of high level pretense play or in cross-gender play within any one condition; 3) high level pretense play incidents were greater during the existing minimal conditions over the enhanced housekeeping or combined conditions; and 4) such play was higher in constructive over housekeeping conditions. Cross-gender play incidents were greater during existing minimal conditions over the enhanced housekeeping conditions or combined conditions, and such play was higher in constructive over housekeeping and constructive over combined conditions. Descriptive statistics revealed a wide variety in the amount of individual children's involvement in high level pretense play and cross-gender play. Other grounded inferences help explain the quantitative findings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology