Role play and dialogue in early childhood education

Sheena Gardner, Aizen Bt Yaacob

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


To explore role play and dialogue in early childhood contexts, we review studies of sociodramatic play, where children pretend in verbal interaction with others. The terms imaginative play, fantasy play, dramatic play and pretend play are also used to describe play that is encouraged in educational settings and positively associated with young children’s cognitive, social, emotional and linguistic development. Sociodramatic play generally involves: (a) imitative role play, (b) make-believe with regard to toys or objects, (c) make-believe with regard to actions and situations, (d) persistence of at least ten minutes, (e) interaction between at least two players, and (f) verbal communication (Smilanksy, 1968). Here, we additionally focus on studies of socio-dramatic play that include analysis of the discourse in educational settings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Language and Education
EditorsStanton Wortham, Deoksoon Kim, Stephen May
Pages(in press)
Number of pages14
VolumeVol 3. Discourse and Education
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-02322-9
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2016


  • early childhood education
  • role play
  • sociodramatic play
  • language development
  • literacy development


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