Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Christy A. Horn

Date of this Version



Sydik, J. (2016) Hey, where's the monster? How a storytelling game is played in a preschool classroom. (Doctoral dissertation)


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education (Cognition, Learning, and Development), Under the Supervision of Professor Christy A. Horn, Lincoln, Nebraska: December, 2016

Copyright 2016 Jeremy J. Sydik


The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine how early childhood learners between the ages of 4 and 6 and their teachers experience the play of a structured cooperative storytelling game in their shared classroom environment at a university preschool child development center, with specific focus on issues of cognitive and social knowledge construction. This study used an instrumental case study approach to observe classroom game play sessions as well as qualitative interviews to explore the features of a cooperative storytelling game play activity, to ask how these features inform understanding of cognitive and social knowledge construction, to identify best practices for developing similar activities, and to identify implications for future inquiry. Themes from the analysis of observations and interviews were identified in the areas of play and games, classroom practice, and narrative storytelling that identify best practices for using this sort of game in the classroom as well as inform broader understanding of game-based play in early childhood classrooms. Games were viewed favorably in concept, but were not the norm and were typically focused on skill practice when used. Implementing storytelling games in the classroom was found to be successful, with students producing rich narrative, particularly when classroom goals and student needs were well understood and student ownership of the game space was maintained. Teachers were found to desire more methods training in achieving this, however, and effort should be made to address this need.

Adviser: Christy A. Horn