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Pretence and creativity during childhood and beyond

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Anna Vidos.

Join the PEDAL team for this term’s research seminar, where Dr Julie Kirkham will discuss pretence and creativity in early and middle childhood.

This talk will be of special interest to teachers, academics, early-years practitioners, and anyone with an interest in alternative educational systems, touching specifically on Montessori and Steiner education.

There will be time for a Q&A session at the end of the talks and refreshments will be provided.

Pretence and creativity during childhood and beyond

Pretend play and creativity are often argued to be essential and ubiquitous characteristics of early and middle childhood that are positively related to each other. However, not all education systems value or promote these attributes to the same extent, and both methodological and operational issues affect the research that has been conducted. The present seminar will consider several small scale exploratory studies which present interesting results and potential avenues for further research.

Firstly, the influence of Montessori and Steiner education upon pretence and creativity during middle childhood will be considered, with both schooling systems offering distinctly different practical and pedagogic approaches towards play than within the National Curriculum. Secondly, the relationship between pretence and creativity during early and middle childhood will be reviewed, considering the use of standardised measures, the influence of confounding variables and the differential influence of cognitive and affective aspects of play.

Finally, the potential relationships between childhood pretend play and adult functioning will be explored in the context of the development and validation of the Childhood Fantasy Play Predisposition Scale (CFPPS).

Speaker: Dr Julie Kirkham

Dr Julie Kirkham is a senior Psychology lecturer and programme leader for the MSc Family and Child Psychology at the University of Chester. She received her PhD in developmental and educational Psychology from the University of Manchester in 2010.

Her research interests include children’s symbolic development and the role of art, play and creativity within different educational curricula. Her published work investigates the relationships between language, drawing and symbolic play and the influence of Montessori and Steiner education upon these abilities.

Dr Kirkham is currently involved in research studying the relationship between childhood fantasy play, imaginary friends and personality traits and abilities during adulthood, as well as the development of children’s aesthetic understanding and preferences for different forms of art.

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This talk is part of the PEDAL - Research Centre for Play in Education, Development & Learning series.

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