The Social-role Play for the Formation of the Symbolic Perceptive Actions in Preschool Children

The  goal  of  this  study  is  to  identify  how  it  is  possible  to  promote  the  development  of  symbolic perceptive actions by social role play in preschool children. 20 preschool children between 5 and 6 years old from the city of Bogota were included in the study. The level of symbolic development was assessed by application of qualitative protocol designed for this purpose before and after inclusion of the  children  in  the  social  role-play.  The  results  showed  low  level  of  symbolic development  before participation  on  the  playing  activity.  After  participation  in  program  based  on  social  role-play  the children  showed  enriched  development  of  symbolic  actions.  Such changes  were  observed  by implementation of the same protocol after the program. The results have permitted to propose some indicators of positive symbolic development at perceptive level in the social role play. Among such indicators there are: possibility of using visual representations (drawings) to solve problems that may occur during the play, to regulate the behavior of others and the behavior itself and to organize the actions corresponding to  the  roles. We discuss the  inclusion  of external  perceptual means  inside social role-play  in  order  to  guarantee  development  of  symbolic  function. Obtained  data  permits  to make  an  important  reflection  in  relation  to  method  for  assessment  of  psychological  development commonly used in preschool institutions. We stress that the level of development of symbolic activity depends not on social conditions, but on participation in specific organized guided activity between children with specific communicational purposes. The social role-play might be considered as one of the paths for such development. The  content  of plays  and  inclusion  of  possibility  for  creation  and usage  of  symbolic  representation  is  a  powerful  strategy  for  positive  development  of  preschool children.  Our  findings might  be useful for  reconsideration of traditional methods  used  in  preschool institutions  in  Latin America  and  new  positive  revalidation  of  the  meaning  of  social  role-play  for preschool age within the theory of cultural and historical development.

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