Capstone/Dissertation Title

UTILIZING UNSTRUCTURED PLAY TIME AS A TOOL TO IMPROVE STUDENT PERFORMANCE

Author

Katelyn Bruce

Term

Summer 2020

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAT

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Bill Lindquist

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Meghan McCann and Taylor Clarke

Abstract

Previous research by Bodrova and Denham has thoroughly explored the role of play in education and child development. This capstone seeks to build off of past research in the field through an observational study conducted in one first grade classroom over a period of five weeks to more specifically determine the impact of unstructured free play on academic achievement and social-emotional development of students. Participants were initially scored using a rubric in a variety of categories indicative of baseline academic and social-emotional skills. Participants were then offered daily periods of free play and were assessed using the same rubric to determine whether or not growth in the areas of interest had occurred following the introduction of the free play period. Results of the study were mixed in the six areas of interest, indicating that while free play had a positive effect on all subjects’ conflict resolution scores, there were mixed results on scores for cooperation, attention-to-task, perseverance, and problem solving. No subjects showed meaningful growth in turn-taking skills. The implications of these results are then discussed, specifically focusing on the positive growth seen for students who initially lacked competency in all areas of interest. A discussion of the opportunities that free play presents as a strategic intervention for skill-building concludes this capstone.

Keywords

Unstructured Playtime, Student Performance

dc_type

text

dc_publisher

DigitalCommons@Hamline

dc_format

application/pdf

dc_source

School of Education Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations

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