Our review examined four early childhood journals (Early Child Development and Care, Early Childhood Education Journal, Journal of Research in Childhood Education, and Early Childhood Research Quarterly) and four developmental science journals (Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, and Merrill Palmer Quarterly) from 2005 to 2007. Only 57 articles out of over 1,000 (conservative estimate) included the term 'play' in the title, abstract or as a key word. Of these 57 articles, only 19 were primarily focused on play, 16 from ECE journals and only three from developmental science journals (Z = 2.43, p <.05). While the ECE journals drew implications for practice, the developmental science journals did not. Seven ECE journal articles dealt with the concept of play in education and four other ECE journal articles covered play and literacy. The findings suggest the need for more careful use of the term play in early education and child development studies and a reevaluation of rationales and methods for its study.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology