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Playmate selections of preschool children

Gladys Verneal Oosting Haynes, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Social relationships are important in the development of young children's cognitive, language and more advanced social skills. Children who fail to develop appropriate social skills are at risk for future difficulties in interpersonal relationships, school failure and criminal behavior. Gender and race may be factors in the development of social relationships. This study examined the selections of Caucasian and African American preschool children as they chose children “most like” them and selected playmates from photographs as well as during actual play. Overall, children were found to be more likely to identify with children of the same gender but were more likely to select familiar playmates of the same race. Children's selections of playmates from photographs predicted their selections of playmates during actual play only approximately half of the time. Findings also indicated that preschool children did not consistently prefer the same playmate but instead played with a small group of different playmates. ^ Interventions were also implemented in an attempt to improve the status of preschool children least often chosen as playmates. Interventions used included modifications to the children's classroom environments or curriculum and peer-mediated interventions utilizing a modified peer training program. Neither intervention was found to significantly improve the number of times the least preferred children in a classroom were chosen as playmates during actual play. However, findings would suggest that interventions did result in the development of more advanced play skills. Significant correlations were found between the teacher's rankings of popularity and the number of times children were chosen as playmates during actual play as well as between teachers' rankings of popularity and the play checklist scores. Although significant, the correlation between children scores on the play checklist and the number of times they were selected as a playmate was very weak. Findings would suggest that factors other than social skills may influence children's status as a preferred playmate. ^

Subject Area

Education, Early Childhood|Psychology, Developmental

Recommended Citation

Haynes, Gladys Verneal Oosting, "Playmate selections of preschool children" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3009724.