The Long-day childcare context: implications for toddlers' pretend play

Helen S. Kowalski, Shirley R. Wyver, Grace Masselos, Philip De Lacey

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    2 Citations (Scopus)


    Forty-eight toddlers aged 17 to 31 months attending long-day childcare participated in this project, which examined some of the influences of the day-care context on their emerging pretend play. Ninety minutes of video-taped observations were collected for each participant as they engaged in free play with their same-age peers and their pre-school-aged peers. The play environment was assessed on a number of dimensions, including the provision of play materials, the quality of care and staff attitudes toward play. Additionally, the participants' weekly attendance pattern was taken into consideration. The complexity of pretend play was coded in accordance with Westby's Symbolic Play Scale (1991). Two components of the long-day childcare context - play with pre-school-aged peers and the unsatisfactory provision of play materials - were found to be significantly influential on the participants' complexity of pretend play. An attendance of four or more days in childcare was also found to be favourable. A number of implications for educational programming in the day-care context arise from these results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)55-65
    Number of pages11
    JournalEarly Years
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2005


    • pretend play
    • symbolic play
    • day-care context
    • toddlers
    • older peers


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