The impact of social pretend play on preschoolers' social development : Results of an experimental study
2023, Jaggy, Ann-Kathrin, Kalkusch, Isabelle, Burkhardt Bossi, Carine, Weiss, Barbara, Sticca, Fabio, Perren, Sonja
This controlled intervention study with a pre-test, post-test, and follow-up design investigated whether promoting children's social pretend play quality fosters their social development. Twenty-seven Swiss playgroups (N = 211 children, age: M = 43.3 months, SD= 6.5, with a median of 7 children per group) were randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions: Play tutoring, provision of role play material, or control. Standardized tests and educator questionnaires were used to assess children's social pretend play competence and social-cognitive, emotional and social skills as well as their peer relationship quality. Latent change models indicated that children's social pretend play competence, behavioral skills, and positive peer relationships as reported by their educators increased most strongly for children in the play tutoring condition. No significant intervention effects emerged regarding children's social-cognitive or emotional skills. The results show that actively promoting children's social pretend play quality also fosters their social behavior and peer relationships.
Promoting peer interactions in an inclusive preschool in China : what are teachers’ strategies?
2022-09, Tan, Run, Perren, Sonja
This study examined strategies teachers applied to promote peer interactions between children with and without Special Educational Needs (SEN) in an inclusive preschool in Shanghai, China. Qualitative case study was used in which seven teachers from four inclusive classrooms participated. In-depth participatory observation and online documents were collected and qualitative content analysis was applied to analyse the data. The key finding suggests both preventive and interventive strategies are identified from five different levels: cooperation with different community stakeholders level; the classroom environment level; the curriculum plan level; the activity design level and the individual children with SEN level. Implications of the ﬁndings to promote peer interactions in inclusive early childhood settings and directions for future research are discussed.
The Situation Matters! : The Effects of Educator Self-Efficacy on Interaction Quality in Child Care
2023, Reyhing, Yvonne, Perren, Sonja
Quality of educator-child interaction is a well-established predictor of children’s well-being and development. Situational and personal characteristics seem to play an important role in the quality of interactions. More challenging situations, such as a large number of children or activities like meals or transitions, show lower quality. One important personal characteristic might be educator self-efficacy. However, empirical findings of the relation between self-efficacy and interaction quality are inconsistent. Situational characteristics might explain these inconsistent findings. We investigate the effects of educator self-efficacy as well as situational characteristics on the observed interaction quality and the moderating role of the situation on the relation between educators’ self-efficacy and interaction quality. A total of 245 early childhood care educators from 103 groups in Switzerland participated. A self-report questionnaire was used to assess educators’ self-efficacy. Interaction quality was observed using a standardized observation tool (CLASS Toddler). Results confirm that the presence of many children and activities like meals, routines, and transitions are related to lower interaction quality. Including situational characteristics like group size or mealtimes yielded some significant – and partly contradictory – associations between educator self-efficacy and interaction quality. We discuss the still unclear and partly problematic transmission of self- efficacy into interaction quality.
Fostering children’s social pretend play competence and social skills through play tutoring : what is the mechanism of change?
2022-09, Kalkusch, Isabelle, Jaggy, Ann-Kathrin, Burkhardt Bossi, Carine, Weiss, Barbara, Sticca, Fabio, Perren, Sonja
Training studies have shown the positive effects of play tutoring on children’s social skills. This study investigates whether the theoretically suggested mechanism of change—social pretend play quality—explains the effect of play tutoring on social pretend play competence and social skills. Twenty-seven Swiss playgroups (N = 214 three- to four-year-olds) participated in a randomized intervention study with three conditions: the intervention group (play tutoring), the material group (half-dose), and the control group (treatment as usual). Weekly treatment sessions took place for six consecutive weeks. Pre-tests, post-tests, and a follow-up were made. Playgroup educators reported on children’s pretend play competence and social skills using a questionnaire. Children’s pretend play quality during treatment sessions was assessed by standardized behavioral observations. Using latent change models with indirect effects, we investigated whether the intervention effects of play tutoring on children’s pretend play competence and social skills are mediated by their social pretend play quality shown during the intervention sessions. The results indicate mediating effects of social pretend play quality on children’s change in social pretend play competence and self-oriented social skills (sociability and setting limits). The study supports social pretend play as a beneficial ground to promote social development but also indicates a more complex interplay of different change mechanisms.
Toddlers' peer engagement in Swiss childcare : contribution of individual and contextual characteristics
2022-09, Diebold, Tatiana, Perren, Sonja
The present study observed 86 three-year-old children (M = 43.7, SD = 6.4) from 15 Swiss childcare groups, to investigate multiple individual and contextual contributions to toddlers’ positive engagement with peers. The children’s individual characteristics (age, sex and social skills) and childcare-related predictors (emotional and behavioural support from caregivers, and structural group features) were assessed. We employed the child-by-environment perspective and tested the hypothesis that high-quality behavioural and emotional support provided by caregivers benefits children with deficits in social abilities. Results of the multilevel structural equation modelling indicated that toddlers rated by caregivers as sociable and assertive showed more positive situation-specific peer engagement, especially with a concomitant higher quality of caregiver emotional and behavioural support. By contrast, being prosocial-cooperative was negatively associated with observed peer engagement. Thus, children’s social skills were found to be the most important factor for peer engagement in childcare settings. Important suggestions for future research are made, and practical implications are discussed.
Teachers’ beliefs about peer social interactions and their relationship to practice in Chinese inclusive preschools
2022-04-03, Tan, Run, Schwab, Tanja, Perren, Sonja
As previous research indicated that children with special educational needs are at risk of social exclusion, this study investigated the link between teachers’ beliefs about children’s social peer interactions and their teaching practices. Using a qualitative case study examining seven teachers from four inclusive classes at one preschool in Shanghai, data from interviews and participatory observations were triangulated. Three degrees of (in)consistencies when combining interviews (teachers’ beliefs) and observations (teachers’ practices) were identified: high consistency, some (in)consistency and high inconsistency. Four critical contextual factors explain these inconsistencies: challenging classroom compositions, whole-group teaching, lack of parents’ support and an academic-performance orientation. Indications for future inclusive teacher training were developed.