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Early peer play interactions of resilient children living in disadvantaged communities
journal contributionposted on 2012-12-01, 00:00 authored by Siobhan Casey, Karen StagnittiKaren Stagnitti, Ann TaketAnn Taket, Andrea NolanAndrea Nolan
Resilience for children is positive adaptation and a capacity to thrive despite challenging circumstances. Children demonstrating resilience are seen to have strong cognitive skills and have developed positive peer relationships. The ‘Supporting Resilience’ project is exploring the conditions and characteristics of resilience of young children and their families who live in rural, regional and metropolitan communities that are economically and socially disadvantaged. The aim of this paper was to report on pretend play and social competence within the early years’ cohort of the ‘Supporting Resilience’ project. Twenty-six children aged 4–6 years who were identified as resilient by their preschool teacher were involved in the study. Results obtained from the Child Initiated Pretend Play Assessment and the Penn Interactive Peer Play Scale when the children were at pre-school found significant relationships between object substitution and social interaction (r = .414, p < .05). Children who could elaborate play with unstructured objects were less likely to be socially disconnected (r = –.49, p < .05). There was no significant difference between geographical locations for play ability. Significant difference for social competence was found between geographical locations. By situating play as individual development within a socio-cultural environment the relationship between children's pretend play ability and social peer play interactions are considered within early childhood development and resilience literature.