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A study into adult perceptions of pre-school children’s messy play experiences; implications for play therapy intervention. February 2015

By January 1, 2015No Comments

This study explores adult perceptions of messy play and its role in pre-school children?s psychological development. Mothers (N= 5) and early years practitioners (N = 5) messy play beliefs are compared and the messy play activities available to pre-school children at home and day-care explored. Parent Play Belief Scale?s (PPBS) and questionnaires were completed followed by a one-to-one interview to explore individual perceptions further.
Pre-school children had more access to messy play activities at day-care than at home. Results indicated that although adults appear to have positive beliefs about the developmental significance of messy play, this belief is more varied amongst parents who have a more academic and cognitive development focus. Compared with early years practitioners, parents were unsure of messy play?s role in their child?s psychological development. Parents and early years practitioners also made limited connections between messy play and emotional development. Results are discussed with reference to early years education and Play Therapy practice. It would appear better communication is needed between professionals and parents, explaining why messy play opportunities are a valuable resource in supporting children?s psychological development and how this is
applied during Play Therapy.