Mother and toddler activity in the zone of proximal development for pretend play as a predictor of higher child IQ

Morrissey, Anne-Marie and Brown, Margaret 2009, Mother and toddler activity in the zone of proximal development for pretend play as a predictor of higher child IQ, Gifted child quarterly, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 106-120, doi: 10.1177/0016986208330563.

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Title Mother and toddler activity in the zone of proximal development for pretend play as a predictor of higher child IQ
Author(s) Morrissey, Anne-MarieORCID iD for Morrissey, Anne-Marie
Brown, Margaret
Journal name Gifted child quarterly
Volume number 53
Issue number 2
Start page 106
End page 120
Total pages 15
Publisher Sage Publication
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2009-04
ISSN 0016-9862
Keyword(s) gifted
Zone of Proximal Development
pretend play
mother-child interactions
Summary This study investigated the pretend play of mother—toddler dyads in relation to later child IQ. Twenty-one toddlers were videotaped in monthly play sessions with their mothers, from age 8 to 17 months, and later assessed at 5 years of age on the Stanford-Binet IV. Children's and mothers' pretend play levels and frequencies were measured using Brown's (1997) Pretend Play Observation Scale. Dyadic play activity was analyzed using the conceptual frameworks of scaffolding and Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). Toddlers later assessed as having higher IQ demonstrated more rapid learning in the ZPD for pretend play and experienced earlier maternal transfer of responsibility for play. These findings support other evidence on the differential early development of high ability or gifted children and the role of caregiver interactions in that development.

Putting the Research to Use: This study provides evidence that gifted children show differential development, in this case more rapid learning, from the first year of life. It also demonstrates how responsive parental interactions can support this advanced development. For family and professional caregivers, the findings imply that optimum caregiving for the young gifted child involves interactions that are both responsive to individual potential and appropriately challenging. In regard to the methodological challenges of researching early giftedness, the study demonstrated that the constructs of the ZPD and scaffolding were useful frameworks for investigating early gifted development and caregiver influences on that development. Pretend play activity was also shown to be an effective measure and a useful context for the study of gifted development in infants and toddlers. It would be valuable for future researchers in this area to utilize similar approaches that are grounded in the unique developmental characteristics of young children, and that aim to account for the interactive contexts that are so important in children's lives. The field of gifted education, in general, would also benefit from an increased awareness and exploration of the role of play in the development of intellect, imagination and creativity.
Language eng
DOI 10.1177/0016986208330563
Field of Research 170102 Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2009, National Association for Gifted Children
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Faculty of Arts and Education
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