The topic I chose for my research simulation is the importance of and effects to early childhood development play has on children. I am interested in this topic due to the fact that I am a Kindergarten teacher and have seen the focus of play in the classroom quickly diminish and take a backrow seat to academic rigor and increasing standards. I believe this is ultimately to the detriment of children and their development and want to have research to back this claim in order to provide more validation and time for play-based learning in my classroom.
I have gained much insight from this week’s readings, especially from Cornell University’s Library page that goes into detail in regards to research quality criteria (Ormondroyd, Engle, and Cosgrave, 2009). This resource is helpful in determining quality standards that are useful in evaluating an information source as the page explains and describes what to look for, but also poses questions to ask when conducting this research and determining validity. I have also found the course text, Research methods: The essential knowledge base (2nd ed.), and especially its glossary section, to be extremely helpful to this endeavor (Trochim, Donnelly, and Arora, 2016). One of my bigger insights this week has been that often, I look for information sources that validate an opinion I have in education, however, not all information sources are created equally and all need to be viewed through a discerning lens.
As with most other topics, there are countless sources about play and its importance to early childhood development that are solely based on opinion. I am excited to continue to discern credible research on this topic as opposed to opinion and bias. If anyone has any research to back the importance of play to cognitive and social-emotional development, literacy acquisition skills, or ways adults can foster positive, engaging play-based environments for children, please share!
Ormondroyd, J., Engle, E., & Cosgrave, T. (2009). Critically analyzing information sources. Cornell University Library. Retrieved from http://guides.library.cornell.edu/criticallyanalyzing
Trochim, W. M., Donnelly, J. P., & Arora, K. (2016). Research methods: The essential knowledge base (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.