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Leveraging the Power of Play in Preschool Classrooms

child playing with toy barn

Principal Investigator: Dr. Rachel Thibodeau Nielsen (Missouri), Dr. Francisco Palermo (Missouri), Dr. Rachel White (Hamilton College)

About this Project

Although existing evidence from lab-based studies supports pretense as a feasible method to facilitate cognitive development among preschoolers, the current literature does not thoroughly identify what aspects of pretense drive positive developmental outcomes. In this study, we aim to observe children as they engage in play to better understand exactly how pretend play contributes to cognitive development in early educational settings. With funding from the Caplan Foundation for Early Childhood, this study will provide important information with regard to how preschool teachers can utilize play as a mechanism for development in their classrooms.


Rachel Thibodeau Nielsen