Social studies can be defined as a learning process in which a child (infant, toddler or preschool level) is introduced to the world either by being taken out to the world or by having the world brought to them in a classroom setting. Dramatic play on the other hand refers to an emulative form of learning in which t e child gains knowledge and experience about the world through pretend play. Here, the child assumes different roles that may relate to characters found in everyday life. In this form of learning, children learn empathy as they practice literally putting themselves someone elses shoes. Dramatic play is useful to a child as it helps them grow in social understanding and cooperation. It also helps them seek warmth and appreciation that they fail to get at home.
A combination of social studies and dramatic play yields socio-dramatic play that highly contributes to a childs impartiality to development and self-regulation. In socio-dramatic play, highest level of symbolism is used. Theorists have categorized socio play under different stages e.g. Jean Piagets three stages of play; practice play, symbolic play and games with rules. Where, practice play involves sensory qualities of a child, symbolic play involves translating objects to symbols and games with rules involves the child coming up with rules or following already set game rules e.g. outdoor sports.
Indeed several arguments have been brought forward in support of dramatic play as an early childhood development tool. Supportive philosophies include; high-level dramatic play produces documented cognitive, social, and emotional benefits. It is worth noting that parental participation is crucial in this stage. Teachers of early childhood studies should therefore aim at involving parents for instance, by, preparing bulletins that parents can review or by organizing parent-teacher conferences in which they will be briefed on their childs progress. For infants who are not yet in school, parents can participate in their development by providing good meals that nurture their physical and mental growth, they can also introduce them to pretend play by buying them play items such as small dolls for both male and female infants. .. Play is a significant contributor to the childs cognitive, physical emotional and social development
Arguments have however been put forth criticizing pretend play in early childhood development. A good example is one against paigent, in which they claimant that the theorist concluded that play was a vital component to a childs normal, intellectual and social development. It is worth noting that Paigent mostly emphasized on pretence play as a solitary activity, which is not completely true since some form of pretence play may require the involvement of externalities such as individuals who play other roles that complement the childs pretend character. E.g. for a child to emulate the role of a doctor there has to be a pretend patient.
Another common argument against pretense playing is failure to replicate. A certain study shows increases in empathy associated with pretense training and another does not, and typically only the positive finding is cited.
Pretense playing although praised and viewed in a positive perspective, may fail to wear off on a childs personality and affect destined traits such as creativity and innovativeness. A child who fails to pull out of the pretense age or does so at a later stage may be affected by this.
In conclusion, it is wise to be aware of the discrepancies that may come with dramatic/pretense play as an early childhood development tool. Either at infancy or a preschool level. These discrepancies are however rare on major occasions and until other social study tools are found, socio- dramatic play still remains the major educative tool for children.
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