NAEYC: Superheros- An Opportunity for Prosocial Play

It’s not often that I find an article related to early childhood and pop culture. Most of what we do at Pop Goes the Classroom is focused on intermediate grade school and up. However, I began my career as an early childhood educator. I was the teacher that really did use TMNT to teach art to PreK children. So when a great article comes my way I’m more than happy to share it. If you have colleagues in primary grade school please share this one with them. It just might change their approach to superhero play in the classroom.

Superheros: An Opportunity for Prosocial Play

By Desalyn De-Souza and Jacqueline Radell

Superhero play has long been thought of as violent,
aggressive, and disruptive. Some argue that aggressive
play should not be allowed because it exposes children
to inappropriate concepts and attitudes and sends the
message that the use of aggression can achieve a desired
goal (Carlsson-Paige & Levin 1995; Bauer & Dettore 1997).
However, educators know that pretend play is an avenue
for healthy emotional development.
Pretend play builds children’s understanding of emotion,
which helps them regulate their feelings (Bodrova & Leong
2003). Acting out themes and stories in pretend play lets
children practice communicating their emotions and leads
toward emotional regulation. Teachers can further promote
children’s social-emotional skills by supporting and
scaffolding pretend play, expanding on children’s themes
and roles. Using these strategies, all types of pretend play,
including superhero play, can have a positive impact.

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