Tonya M. Palermo
The scientific understanding of sleep in infants, children, and adolescents has expanded significantly over the past few decades. Within psychology, key discoveries have been made in several important areas including (1) the understanding of prevalence and impact of childhood sleep problems and disorders; (2) the development and evaluation of behavioral treatments for childhood sleep problems; (3) the development of conceptual models of children’s sleep and sleep dysfunction; (4) the measurement of sleep patterns, behaviors, and disorders in children; and (5) the identification of sleep-related concerns in pediatric medical, neurodevelopmental, and psychiatric populations. Sleep is now recognized as a cross-cutting issue in child and pediatric psychology. Expanding opportunities within psychology for involvement in pediatric sleep research and sleep clinical training are part of this evolving history. A research agenda building from these key discoveries will move the field of pediatric sleep medicine forward over the next several decades.
Comparing and Extending Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s Understandings of Play: Symbolic Play as Individual, Sociocultural, and Educational Interpretation
Artin Göncü and Suzanne Gaskins
This chapter presents a comparison of Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theories of symbolic play and provides an extension of them. By comparing these theories on the basis of their conceptualizations of symbolic play with regard to its origins, immediate functions, and future outcomes, we reach the conclusion that symbolic play is an activity of interpretation. We then provide an extension of their theories of play by indicating a blind spot shared by both Piaget and Vygotsky: both theorists considered symbolic play as primarily individual rather than fundamentally social and cultural activity. Going beyond Piaget (1945) and Vygotsky (1967), we argue that symbolic play’s developmental origins, functions, and consequences are structured by children’s social and cultural lives as well as by individual children themselves, and that a sociocultural approach is necessary to understand children’s play fully. We conclude with some educational implications of this proposed view that integrates personal, social, and cultural engagement.
Jerome L. Singer and Dorothy G. Singer
This chapter attempts to place the early roots of adult imagination in the context of the emergence of pretend play in children. Following some brief definitions based on the authors' studies of adult imagination and daydreaming, some historical precursors of psychological research on the behavior of children are examined. Some artistic and literary representations of early children's play such as the Song dynasty painting, or examples from writers like Mark Twain and Robert Louis Stevenson are briefly cited. Both theorizing and systematic research beginning with Freud and then moving to observational and experimental studies of Groos, the Opies, Lewin, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Luria are traced. The authors then move to current views of research encompassing more social and cultural aspects of play, including influences of peers, parents, and schools. Specific research methods for studying imagination in children are summarized.
Howard P. Chudacoff
Children’s play, defined as non-obligatory activity, has often been a contested endeavor between adults, who, in their capacity as teachers and protectors, have tried to guide children toward productive pastimes and the younger generation who, in their quest for autonomy, have tried to fashion their own ways of amusement. This essay focuses on the “latent” period of childhood, ages six to twelve, when play is often regarded as the special “work” of children. Four contexts of play—environment, materials, playmates, and risk-freedom—are examined over five chronological periods—colonial America, early nineteenth century, late nineteenth century, early twentieth century, the most recent past. Changes and continuities have characterized all contexts and all periods, but the general trend has been toward increased adult control of children’s activities and diminished opportunities for unstructured, independent play.
Stephen H. Sheldon
Development of pediatric and adolescent sleep medicine parallels the development of pediatric health care in the United States. Historical development of health care for children, as well as development of sleep medicine as a necessary and important medical discipline for adults, provides insight into the current position of pediatric and adolescent sleep medicine and future directions for clinical practice and research. An understanding of the evolution of sleep medicine into a clinical and research discipline will create important perspective. Juxtaposition of disciplines will sensitize the reader to the need for state-of-the-art evaluation of sleep and its pathologies seen in infants, children, and adolescents.
As a category of behavior, play can be readily recognized and measured in mammals at least. However, it is easy to project onto children and other animals adult human notions of what is going on. It is also easy for everybody to suppose that the category called play is unitary. Solitary play and social play, imaginary play and object play are not the same and are motivated in different ways. It is far from obvious that play is always enjoyable. Many different explanations are offered for the current utilities or biological functions that increase the chances of the individual surviving and reproducing. These include the acquisition and honing of physical skills needed at once or later in life, improving problem-solving abilities, cementing social relationships and tuning the musculature and the nervous system. In principle the functions can be tested by experiment but the results are often ambiguous. How and why play evolved cannot be tested directly but may well have depended on the individual having enough resources to devote to the active promotion of its development. Once evolved, play may have acted as a driver of evolutionary change, opening up possibilities that did not previously exist. In terms of public policy, the steady reduction in children’s time for play is cause for serious concern, but recommendations for reversing that trend must be based on hard thought and good evidence.