Dramatic Play Center Benefits and the Research to Prove It!


Over the last couple of months, I’ve shared some great ideas of different themes/resources of dramatic play centers that you can incorporate into your classroom, as well as how these centers are excellent resources for learning with an emphasis on literacy skills.

I know that sometimes the administration in your building may not be fully supportive of this type of learning because it can look like “just play” from an outside perspective. This post will provide the evidence behind dramatic play centers and the resources you can keep within your classrooms to show anyone who doubts the importance of dramatic play centers!

zoo dramatic play

Dramatic Play Supports Children’s Writing in Kindergarten and Grade 1

Throughout this article, Dr. Shelley Stagg Peterson gives an in-depth account of dramatic play centers in two early-learning classrooms and additional research to make a case for dramatic play centers in early-learning classrooms. In addition, she focuses on how dramatic play can promote early literacy skills and focuses on writing. Through her academic research and study, she can beautifully demonstrate how and why dramatic play centers belong in the classroom.

zoo dramatic play

For Young Kids, The Power of Play-Based Learning

This article discusses how the word “play” can be alarming to parents and admin alike. The author, Andrew Boryga, discusses play-based learning compared to seat time and explicit instructions. He states:

 “A group of researchers from the University of Cambridge analyzed decades of research on “guided play” – more commonly called play-based learning – concluded that it can have “greater positive effect” on the acquisition of skills like math, shape knowledge, and task switching than the more traditional approaches that prioritize seat time and explicit instruction.”

This article includes the importance of the play centers with provided research and gives further instruction on how to incorporate it into your classroom! This article is a quick and informative read that is a great resource to share with all stakeholders.

zoo dramatic play

Supporting Language: Culturally Rich Dramatic Play

The final article explores how dramatic play centers are a great way to incorporate culturally relevant themes into the classroom. Through an example of an early learning classroom, the authors (Isarema  Salinas-Gonzalez, Maria G. Arreguin, and Iliana Alanis) provide an example of how a dramatic play center can allow young learners to draw from their own experiences.

Drawing from their own experiences can enhance their play and provide a meaningful learning experience – especially in language and vocabulary. Finally, the article beautifully outlines how to make your dramatic play centers reflect your students’ cultures, communities, and experiences outside of the school, encouraging them to learn new words and use them in a comfortable and safe setting! It further demonstrates the importance of dramatic play centers for students!

While the education system may be pushing to eliminate these centers from the classroom as high-stakes testing takes greater priority, the truth is they belong. Having and sharing the research to support dramatic play centers in your school allows you to be a great advocate of either keeping or integrating centers in your classroom.

Consider printing off these sources and storing them in your classroom to share with anyone who may not fully understand their importance! Also, check out the posts below for great ideas and resources you can use in your centers. You can also shop my dramatic play centers on TPT here!

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