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The Importance of Dramatic Play

Posted by: Rhonda February 24, 2015

“Fantasy play is the glue that binds together all other pursuits, including the early teaching of reading and writing skills…”  Vivian Gussin Paley

Unstructured, creative time in the early childhood classroom is decreasing as teachers come under the pressure of standardized tests and school readiness mandates. Yet research shows that dramatic play has a significant role to play in the social and cognitive development of children.

Children need a variety of opportunities to create, imagine, and construct their reality. In dramatic play, they can bring their experiences and questions into the classroom. It gives the child a feeling of competence and control and builds self-esteem.

We cannot force such play, but we can support it with reliable and inviting play equipment. Open-ended materials that can quickly become a house, an extended train, a fence, or a zoo, are vital in the dramatic play area.

Our staff development booklet, The Stuff of Childhood, contains guidelines on how to choose appropriate playthings for young children. Request your free copy here.