Parents' Perceptions of Child's Play and the Relation to Children's Development of Social Competence and Creativity

Open Access
Lin, Yen-Chun
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
September 14, 2009
Committee Members:
  • Dr Tomas Yawkey, Dissertation Advisor
  • Thomas Daniel Yawkey, Committee Chair
  • Daniel Dean Hade, Committee Member
  • Edgar Paul Yoder, Committee Member
  • Robert Lee Burgess, Committee Member
  • child play
  • social competence
  • creativity
Different theories and perspectives of play have been discussed by researchers and educators. Generally speaking, play contributes to children’s cognitive, socio-emotional, and motor development. Children spend time at home in the learning environment established by their parents. Thus, parents’ perceptions of children’s growing and learning affect both their interaction with and the environment they provide for their children. In early childhood education, play is an increasingly important factor; in the specific context of Taiwan, little is known about Taiwanese parents’ perceptions of it. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of Taiwanese parents’ perceptions of child’s play and examine whether their perceptions are related to their children’s social competence and creativity. The study was conducted in Hsinchu, Taiwan. In order to ensure greater variability in parents’ backgrounds, criterion-based sampling was used. Three kindergartens were recruited for the study: two were located in Hsinchu County, where parents generally had lower socioeconomic status, and one was located in Hsinchu City, where parents generally had higher socioeconomic status. A total sample of 142 parents with kindergarteners aged 4–7 and 10 kindergarten teachers participated in this study. Parent and teacher versions of the questionnaire were used. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, One-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), and Pearson product-moment coefficient (PPMr). Research results were as follows: (1)Taiwanese parents valued play’s effect on children’s development and supported playing with their children. (2)Parents’ perceptions of child’s play differed by gender, highest education level, and total monthly household income, but there was no difference by parents’ age and occupation. (3)There was no significant difference in parents’ perceptions of child’s play when examined by children’s gender and age. (4)Parents’ perceptions of child’s play were positively related to children’s development of social competence (rated by both parents and teachers) as well as creativity (rated only by parents). Three factors––parent’s highest education level, spouse’s highest education level, and total monthly household income––were found to affect children’s development of social competence and creativity. When these three factors were controlled, a correlation still existed but the strength of the relationship was smaller.