Date of Award
Master of Arts in Education
Early Childhood Education
Dr. Kelly Sadlovsky
early childhood, literacy instruction, play-based learning, emergent literacy
Research in the field of Early Childhood Education supports that young children learn best through play. Many schools in America have taken away play in classrooms and replaced it with academic-based, sedentary learning. The removal of play has resulted in young children displaying more challenging behaviors such as aggression, running, and impulsivity. One challenge facing early childhood educators today is finding ways to incorporate play-based learning in an increasingly academic-based system. This paper synthesized current research on the effects of play-based learning on the development of preschoolers and incorporating play-based teaching methods into literacy instruction for preschoolers. The studies examined overwhelmingly supported using play-based methods to teach literacy skills in preschoolers. Research showed play-based teaching methods positively affected preschoolers’ acquisition of literacy skills, especially in preschoolers considered to be at-risk of academic failure. Limited research was found on teachers’ beliefs of language and literacy development.