Pretend Play and Emotion Learning in Traumatized Mothers and Children

Wendy Haight, James Black, Teresa Ostler, Kathryn Sheridan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Pretend play is a context that facilitates learning. It facilitates children's learning about emotions, adults' learning about children, and children's and adults' learning together. Indeed, pretend play, a subcategory of play in which actions, objects, and persons are transformed or treated non-literally, has long been recognized as pivotal in facilitating early social and emotional development. Through pretend play, young children can express and communicate their emerging concerns and interpretations of the social and cultural world. Children's pretend play also allows adults to learn about children. When children and adults pretend together, they may spontaneously interpret emotionally important issues as they naturally emerge during everyday life. Yet, little is known aboutthe roles of spontaneous, everyday pretend play with parents in children's emerging interpretations of stressful events. This chapter presents pilot data exploring the pretend play of mothers and children from high-risk families who have experienced recent trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPlay = Learning
Subtitle of host publicationHow Play Motivates and Enhances Children's Cognitive and Social-Emotional Growth
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199894321
ISBN (Print)0195304381, 9780195304381
StatePublished - Sep 7 2006


  • Children
  • Emotional development
  • Learning
  • Mothers
  • Parents
  • Pretend play
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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