Children's Play

Books

W. George Scarlett, Sophie Naudeau, Dorothy Salonius-Pasternak & Iris Ponte

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: The Development of Play from Infancy Through Late Childhood

    Part II: Revolutions in how Today's Children Play

    Part III: Major Settings for Children's Play

    Part IV: Therapeutic Uses of Play

  • Copyright

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    Preface

    Why study children's play? One answer is obvious. Doing so helps those developing careers working with children. They need to understand play, because understanding is useful, even necessary, for doing their jobs. For teachers, play can be central to developing curriculum. For clinicians, it can be central to assessing and treating problems. If we consider parenting a career, for parents, play can be central to raising children. There are, therefore, practical reasons for studying children's play.

    However, we don't see practical reasons as being necessary or even the most important for studying children's play, and this book was written with that thought in mind. To convey what we mean, an analogy might help. Few people justify studying music mainly as a way to foster careers. Understanding and appreciating music is in and of itself good—because music is complex and beautiful. The same is true with children's play. This book is intended to turn readers on to play's complexity and beauty.

    One further preliminary note: Before knowing much about play, many see play as a small subject, a secondary aspect of children's development. Surprisingly, this view is reinforced in textbooks on child development by there being relatively little discussion about children's play. There are lengthy discussions about brain development, cognitive development, and the development of attachments and moral judgment, but not much about the development of play.

    This is puzzling for two reasons in particular: First, given the opportunity, children usually choose to play. Play is, therefore, a central value for children, which should alert us to the fact that it is important. Second, some of the best minds in psychology and education have studied play and, in so doing, have shown that play is indeed complex, beautiful, and important for children's development.

    However, in this book, we don't wish to explain the puzzle as to why play is not thought of or treated as being so important. In this book, we wish simply to explain children's play and foster in readers a deep appreciation for its complexity, its many forms, its many interesting uses, and perhaps most of all, its beauty. We want readers to see play for what it is at its core, namely, an expression of the human spirit.

    Acknowledgments

    The authors would like to express their gratitude to those who contributed significantly to this book. We are particularly grateful to Kim Walls, who provided most of the book's photographs, to David Murray, who drew the sketches, and to Jason Kuhn, who assisted in the writing of two of the chapters. Audra Plewak, Rosa Maria Ares, and Gregory Chertok provided significant assistance in drafting the chapter on organized youth sports. Brett Levin provided assistance on Chapter 6, and Lamio Sol contributed to developing the original book proposal. Last, but not least, our editor, Jim Brace-Thompson, provided invaluable guidance and much-appreciated support throughout the writing process.

  • Web Resources

    A word of caution: These Web sites vary in the quality of the information they provide. In addition, their content is likely to evolve over time. Therefore, as with any Web site, we encourage the reader to exert caution in the analysis and use of their content.

    Across Chapters

    Tufts University Child and Family Webguide

    http://www.cfw.tufts.edu

    For Specific Chapters
    Chapter 4: Play in Late Childhood: Rule-Governed Play

    Games with rules

    http://www.everyrule.com

    Guidelines for distinguishing aggression from play fighting

    http://www.cfchildren.org/parent_aggression.shtml

    Relational aggression

    http://www.opheliaproject.org/issues/issues_RA.shtml

    Chapter 6: Electronic Play: Computer, Console, and Video Games

    Game Spot—information and resources regarding games

    http://www.gamespot.com

    Penny-Arcade—information and resources regarding games and the game industry

    http://www.penny-arcade.com

    Entertainment Software Association1

    http://www.theesa.com

    Entertainment Software Rating Board

    http://www.esrb.com

    National Institute on Media and the Family

    http://www.mediafamily.org

    Chapter 7: Organized Youth Sports

    Sport in Society

    http://www.sportinsociety.org

    Center for Sports Parenting

    http://www.sportsparenting.org/csp/National Alliance for Youth Sports

    http://www.nays.org

    National Youth Sports Safety Foundation

    http://www.nyssf.org

    University of Michigan: Institute for the Study of Youth Sport

    http://www.ed-web3.educ.msu.edu/ysi

    Youth Sports on the Web

    http://www.infosports.net

    North American Youth Sports Institute

    http://www.naysi.com

    Youth Sports Trust

    http://www.youthsporttrust.org

    Special Olympics Web site

    http://www.specialolympics.org

    Chapter 9: Schooling and Play

    Lego curriculum @ Netlab

    http://www.netlab.co.uk/robotics/index.htm

    Robot Education @ NASA

    http://www.netlab.co.uk/robotics/index.htm

    Lego Related Links

    http://www.asccxe.wpafb.af.mil/Robotics/Related%20Links.htm

    Seymour Papert

    http://www.papert.org/Microworlds

    http://www.microworlds.com

    National Association for the Education of Young Children

    http://www.naeyc.org

    George Forman

    http://www.videatives.com

    Chapter 10: Restorative Play in Stressful Environments

    Child Life Council

    http://www.childlife.org

    UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

    http://www.unicef.org/crc/crc.htm

    Chapter 11: Play Therapy

    Play Therapy International

    http://www.playtherapy.org

    Play Therapy Training Institute

    http://www.ptti.org

    Note

    1. Formerly known as the Interactive Digital Software Association (IDSA).

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    Name Index

    About the Authors

    W. George Scarlett is Professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University. He is a graduate of Yale and Clark universities, has authored numerous articles on children's play, and has coauthored books on parenting, managing behavior problems, and religious-spiritual development. His past research includes research on play and its development in diverse media during early childhood, play assessment techniques for work with atypical children, and play of children with serious problem behavior. For over two decades he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on children's play.

    Sophie Naudeau currently writes and conducts research on positive youth development and play among war-affected children and children of incarcerated parents. She is a graduate of the Sorbonne and a former Fulbright fellow. She has done extensive fieldwork with refugee children in diverse cultures (Bosnia, Guinea-Conakry Sierra Leone, Thailand, and Cambodia).

    Dorothy Salonius-Pasternak is Senior Researcher at the Harvard Medical School Center for Mental Health and Media and also conducts research on resilience and chronic illness through the Judge Baker Children's Center, Joslin Diabetes Center, and Tufts University. She is a graduate of Wesleyan and Tufts universities and was formerly affiliated with the National Research Institute in Finland and the Yale New Haven Hospital.

    Iris Ponte has worked for Sesame Street Research at the Children's Television Workshop in New York and has been an early childhood educator for the Department of Child Development's laboratory school at Tufts University. She is a graduate of Holy Cross College and a former Watson Scholar. She has conducted research on preschools in the United Kingdom, Taiwan, China, Japan, and Newfoundland.


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