• The relationship between pretend play skills and language development in children aged three to five

      Kirkham, Julie; Nowell, Rebecca (University of Chester, 2018)
      Pretend play is a crucial component within child development, especially with regards to language. Pretend play and language both share commonalities which involve symbolic abilities (Lewis, Boucher, Lupton, & Watson, 2000). This study examined the influence that cognitive and affective aspects of pretend play and symbolic play has on expressive and receptive language development and whether these pretend play domains uniquely predict language development. This study also assessed whether age and sex effects pretend play and language development. A convenience sample of 50 children age three to five years old was used to collect the data. The Preschool Language Scale (Zimmerman, Steiner & Pond, 1997) was used to assess Auditory and Expressive Communication, the Affect in Play Scale – Brief Rating Version (Cordiano, Russ & Short, 2008) was used to measure cognitive and affective pretend play, and the Pretend Actions Task was used to measure symbolic play (Overton & Jackson, 1973). The results suggest that cognitive and affective pretend play and symbolic play did not uniquely predict expressive and receptive language. Only symbolic play was found to be a positive significant unique predictor of expressive language. There was also a significant effect of age on all three pretend play scores and expressive and receptive language, with five year olds scoring higher than four year olds and four year olds scoring higher than three year olds. There was no effect of gender on the play tasks. However, boys scored significantly higher on the receptive language test than girls. These findings demonstrate that pretend play is an important component for language development; however it may not be the only predictor. The results suggest that more research needs to be done in order to gain a greater understanding of the relationship between cognitive and affective pretend play and expressive and receptive language.