Date of Award

1-1996

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

First Advisor

Elizabeth Arch

Abstract

This is a study focused on how children from a first/ second grade blended class negotiate self-directed play. Utilizing the cognitive theories of Piaget and Vygotsky as a framework, the data collected in this study is compared, and contrasted to the ideas of these two theorists to determine whether or not there is any support for one or both of their theories. The data is descriptive consisting of reports of observations and interviews focused on the spontaneous play of five children in particular. The data is then analyzed for evidence supporting the cognitive development theories described by Piaget and Vygotsky. There is some evidence supporting Piaget's cognitive theory that play is representative of the cognitive development of children, but no evidence for Vygotsky's theory. Primarily, the outcome suggests that generally the spontaneous play of children between the ages of 6-8 serves other purposes than predicted from these two theories.

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