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Theater in the early childhood years can be understood as a developmental process, and as a unique, creative expression of lived experience—and of future possibilities. Theater takes many forms in early childhood: imitation and deferred imitation, and symbolic or imaginative play.

What accounts for performance in early childhood? Jean Piaget argued that children construct understanding of their world through action (1929/2007, 1936/1963, 1937/1954). Qualitative changes in cognitive understanding are accompanied by changes in how children perform their evolving comprehension. They perform their understandings of how the world works through acting upon and in interaction with their environment. As they grow, how children understand the world and how they perform these understandings undergo qualitative changes. Children’s activity is geared toward creating comprehensive understanding of the world—physical and ...

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