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Peers and Play

For young children, the principal source of peer interaction occurs during play. In contrast to interactions between older students and adults, who often have exclusively task-oriented reasons to interact, the primary form of interacting for young children is within the bounds of playing together. Dating back to the observations of Greek philosophers, play has been considered characteristic behavior of young children. Indeed, play has often been considered as a process in which children are able to practice the behaviors and skills they need as adults. As such, adults should structure and promote play around experiences that would prepare children for the expectations of the adult world. In this way, play has been considered the child’s work. This entry reviews the development of children’s play with ...

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