Development In Early Childhood Play Years Term Paper

¶ … Early Childhood: Play Years Early childhood is a time of rapid mental, physical and emotional growth. As children move past infancy, they begin to explore their surroundings and to build relationships with other children. Four areas of early childhood will be explored; the differences between male and female brain development, pretend play in early childhood, conflict negotiation, and the male and female approaches to relationships and problem solving.

Biology and Language

Scientists have been aware for many years that there are physical differences between the physiology of male and female brains, especially in the way that language is processed. Experts generally tend to agree that women are superior at language skills, while men are stronger in spatial skills. The reason women are better at language is because females have a larger and thicker corpus callosum, which is a bundle of neurons that connects the two hemispheres of the brain and allows them to communicate (Sousa, 2005). This bundle of nerves allows information to travel back and forth between the two hemispheres of the brain more efficiently. Another reason is found in the way male and female brains develop. Female brains develop more quickly than males (Phinney, 1988 as cited by Block, 2003). In males, the brain has the opportunity to strengthen its visual and spatial right hemisphere because it has a slower maturation time. In a female, however, the brain's rapid maturation often means that females are stronger in the left hemisphere's...


Consequently, girls usually have better spoken vocabularies and can express their thoughts and ideas at an early age. Boys, however, take longer to speak, but are better at spatial and logical reasoning than girls are.
Pretend Play

Pretend play is an important part of early childhood. For a child, a brick can become a living room sofa, a pile of leaves and a stick can become a roaring fire, and a towel can become a superhero's cape or a bridal train. Pretend play "requires the ability to transform objects and actions symbolically; it is furthered by interactive social dialogue and negotiation; and it involves role taking, script knowledge, and improvisation" (Bergen, 2002). Children use one object to represent another in pretend play. More importantly, children are using their schema to act out emotional roles of life (Church, n.d.).

Pretend play builds emotional skills, social, language, and abstract thinking skills in children. As children pretend play they often pretend to be other people. This activity promotes their empathy development by allowing them to explore life through the viewpoint of another person. By pretending to be someone else, they are "actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life" (Church, n.d.). Children also learn to cooperate and take turns as they play with other children. Their language skills improve during this role play because of the constant communication with…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bergen, D. (2002). The role of pretend play in children's cognitive development. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 4(1), 193-483.

Block, C. (2003). Literacy difficulties: diagnosis and instruction for reading specialists and classroom teachers. (2nd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Church, E. (n.d.) The importance of pretend play. Scholastic Parents. Retrieved January 30, 2010 from

Slavin, R. (2009). Education psychology: theory and practice. New Jersey: Pearson.

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