The goal of this study is to identify how it is possible to promote the development of symbolic perceptive actions by social role play in preschool children. 20 preschool children between 5 and 6 years old from the city of Bogota were included in the study. The level of symbolic development was assessed by application of qualitative protocol designed for this purpose before and after inclusion of the children in the social role-play. The results showed low level of symbolic development before participation on the playing activity. After participation in program based on social role-play the children showed enriched development of symbolic actions. Such changes were observed by implementation of the same protocol after the program. The results have permitted to propose some indicators of positive symbolic development at perceptive level in the social role play. Among such indicators there are: possibility of using visual representations (drawings) to solve problems that may occur during the play, to regulate the behavior of others and the behavior itself and to organize the actions corresponding to the roles. We discuss the inclusion of external perceptual means inside social role-play in order to guarantee development of symbolic function. Obtained data permits to make an important reflection in relation to method for assessment of psychological development commonly used in preschool institutions. We stress that the level of development of symbolic activity depends not on social conditions, but on participation in specific organized guided activity between children with specific communicational purposes. The social role-play might be considered as one of the paths for such development. The content of plays and inclusion of possibility for creation and usage of symbolic representation is a powerful strategy for positive development of preschool children. Our findings might be useful for reconsideration of traditional methods used in preschool institutions in Latin America and new positive revalidation of the meaning of social role-play for preschool age within the theory of cultural and historical development.
Claudia Ximena González-Moreno
Pontifical Javeriana University, Bogota, Colombia.
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