Socio-Dramatic Play

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Introduction
Play is an activity that is chosen freely and is motivated and directed based on the individuals interests. Adequate space for play and a variety of play materials can be crucial in the development of children (Goldstein, 2012). In early childhood education (ECE), play is essential and embedded in the curriculum. The importance of play stemmed from the contribution it makes towards the cognitive, physical, social and emotional well-being of children and youth (Ginsburg, 2005). Continuous play between children and their peers as well as adults can enhance their social competence and emotional maturity. During play, children develop all the skills required, making it a very significant aspect of their lives (Goldstein, 2012).
Types
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Children take roles using characters like dolls, figures, and puppets as they interact. A practitioner may assist ideas for characters, settings or props and use the children's ideas for a story. Typically occurs between 3 - 4 years of age. As a child matures, themes, sequences, plans, problem solving, and characters become richer and they begin to organise other children for role play.
Dramatic play is a form of symbolic play where a child pretends , imitating actions and speech from earlier situations. The elements of reality and make-believe are involved as children imitate real-life people and situations, but when they can’t imitate exactly what they have observed, make-believe enters their
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The outdoor environment offers availability of low-structured, low-realistic, natural materials, and spaciousness that encourage dramatic play. New innovative playgrounds are being designed that greatly encourage dramatic play. Old West towns, forts, castles, pirate ships and space ships are some of the themes built into today’s playgrounds. Slides, fire poles, overhead ladders, climbers, bridges, and spring rockers all promote dramatic play as well as decks, roofs, tunnels, talk tubes, and bubble panels. Platforms with window and door cutouts create places for children to engage in dramatic play.
With experience and exposure to play with different children, dramatic play becomes varied with new ideas and interpretations. Socio-dramatic play aids the development of social skills, creativity, and intellectual growth. Children learn skills in negotiation, listening, sharing, taking turns, and respecting others’ feelings, thoughts, ideas, and physical space through socio-dramatic play.
Children are often unable to verbally express their feelings, due to their limited vocabularies and understanding of emotions. However, dramatic play allows them the opportunity to verbalise, through toys and play, feelings that they might not be able to express.
Children’s play is their natural form of communication

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