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Supporting Children's Learning in
Dramatic Play Centers

Play has an essential role in children's learning. In this brief introduction video, Dr. Jeffrey Trawick-Smith of Eastern Connecticut State University discusses the importance of pretend play. This video serves as an introduction to a series of videos showing examples of dramatic play centers being implemented in preschool classroom to support children's learning and development. 

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Video Examples of Dramatic Play Centers

The following examples of dramatic play centers bring this concept to life. Guided by a clear understanding of children's developmental needs and capabilities, teachers provide opportunities for learning across a variety of domains. Below the videos are materials to support faculty and trainers in using the videos for professional learning and pre-service training purposes.
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Children pretend to be working in a bakery as their teacher orders food.
The Bakery (5:15) Preschool Teacher Maureen Ostroff describes her intentional utilization of the classroom dramatic play center. She begins by learning what children know about a topic and shares how she helps them increase their understanding. See video and resources
A teacher and student sit inside a box, pretending it's a train.
The Train Station (6:08) Preschool Teacher Amy Doyle involves children in the planning, creation, and use of a dramatic play center that is based on their interests and experiences. See video and resources
Children pretend play that they are in a garden center.
The Garden Center (5:39) Preschool Teacher Cynthia DeJesús involves children in all aspects of planning and developing a new dramatic play center that is related to their center's ongoing investigation of nature. See video and resources
A toddler pretends to vacuum.
We Can Clean, Too! (4:21) Infant-Toddler Teacher Heather Mulrooney describes how she encourages the emerging pretend play of the toddlers in her care. She plans a play theme based on their daily experiences that is well-matched to their curious nature. See video and resources

Ideas for Using these Videos

Cover of Ideas for College CoursesCover of Suggestions for ProgramsCover of Suggestions for Trainings

These documents were created by Terry Surprenant with contributions from Michelle Levy.