Lanore West - Curry School of Education

To complement standardized
Two types: video vs. live
What can be observed?
The first article examining play behaviors
among pre-school children
 Observed children’s play behavior and
categorized play based on what she
 Play stages include
Independent Solitary play
Parallel activity
Cooperative/Organized supplementary play
Parten, B. Mildred. (1932) School Participation Among
Pre-school Children
Developed a code that was appropriate
for our population of interest (children
enrolled in HeadStart, Preschool,
externalizing/internalizing behavior)
 Incorporated Parten’s play research and
work from others in the field (Fujuki,
Brinton, Isaacson, & Summers, 2001;
Parten, 1932; Qi & Kaiser, 2004; Rubin,
Important points to consider when
developing definitions:
› Behaviors
must be observable
› Coders must be able to observe the same
› Reliability
Event-positive/negative measures of
autonomous behaviors or aggression
while playing
Duration-codes used to specify play
behaviors of children
Child Initiated (CI): interactive behavior
(verbal or physical) by the target child
toward a peer
 Peer Initiated (PI): interactive behavior
(verbal, non-verbal, physical) by a peer
toward the target child that is
complimentary and is followed by a
peer behavior
 Aggression (CA): any physical touch that
is intended to be aversive, negative, or
restrictive of the child’s activity
Following directions (FD): child is on
task, following teacher’s directions or
engaging in appropriate behavior.
 Parallel play (PP): the child is playing
with toys similar to those used in the
 Associative play (AP): child plays with
peer without role assignment.
Distinguishing feature is the focus of the
 Equal cooperative play (CPE): child is
engaged in activity with others equally.
Conversation should be present.
Using hand-held computers
Video clips
Following directions (FD)
Parallel play (PP)
Equal Cooperative Play (CPE)
Associative Play (AP)
Solitary Play (SP)

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