Advertisement

Collaborative Competence during preschooler’s Peer Interactions: Considering Multiple Levels of Context within Classrooms

  • Rebecca GarteEmail author
Regular Article
  • 8 Downloads

Abstract

The present study introduced an interaction based, contextually contingent method for the study of social competence among preschoolers from low income families of color. Contrary to prevailing methods that assess social competence among individual children, this study used the interacting group as the unit of analysis. The constructs of intersubjectivity and collaborative complexity were adapted for an observational measure of 277 naturally occurring episodes of children’s free play. The results of a multi-level analysis demonstrated a significant impact of the flexibility of the play environment and the characteristics of the peer group on the social complexity of children’s peer interactions during play. To explain the study’s findings a theory of how children’s collaborative competence emerges according to the features of the physical and social context is proposed. More specifically, there is a bi-directional relationship between the flexibility of space and materials in the immediate play environment and children’s focus on either interpersonal dynamics or collective goals of shared activity during peer play interactions. Implications for both empirical study and theorization of children’s collaborative competence is discussed. More specifically, the need for measures that consider the interactive nature of social development, include non-verbal indicators of collaborative competence and consider environmental influences on children’s peer interactions is highlighted. Including consideration of collaborative competence as framed by shared activity and collective goals during peer interactions in an understanding of social competence, rather than an exclusive focus on individual development of social skills is proposed.

Keywords

Preschoolers Social competence Intersubjectivity Peer interactions Collaborative play 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to acknowledge Rui Lu of Teacher’s College, Columbia University for his assistance with this manuscript. I would also like to thank Anna Stetsenko for her mentorship in relation to this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The author of this manuscript, Rebecca Garte, declares that she has no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

References

  1. Brownell, C. A., Geetha, R. B., & Zerwas, S. (2006). Becoming a social partner with peers: cooperation and social understanding in one and two- year olds. Child Development, 77, 803–821.Google Scholar
  2. Bulotsky-Shearer, R. J., Fantuzzo, J. W., & Mcdermott, P. A. (2008). An investigation of classroom situation dimensions of emotional and behavioral adjustment and cognitive and social outcomes for Head Start children. Developmental Psychology, 44, 139–154.Google Scholar
  3. Bulotsky-Shearer, R. J., Bell, E. R., Romero, S. L., & Carter, T. M. (2012). Preschool interactive peer play mediates problem behavior and learning for low-income children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33, 53–65.Google Scholar
  4. Carletta, J. (1996). Assessing agreement on classification tasks: The kappa statistic. Computational Linguistics, 22(2), 249–254.Google Scholar
  5. Cole, M. (2013). Differences and deficits in psychological research in historical perspective: A commentary on the special section. Developmental Psychology, 49(1), 84.Google Scholar
  6. Connery, M. C., John-Steiner, V., & Marjanovic-Shane, A. (Eds.). (2010). Vygotsky and creativity: A cultural-historical approach to play, meaning making, and the arts (Vol. 5). Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  7. Correa-Chavez, M., & Roberts, A. (2012). A cultural analysis is necessary in understanding inter-subjectivity. Culture and Psychology, 18, 100–106.Google Scholar
  8. Dyer, S., & Moneta, G. B. (2006). Frequency of parallel, associative, and co-operative play in British children of different socio-economic status. Social Behavior and Personality, 34, 587–592.Google Scholar
  9. Fantuzzo, J., Sekino, Y., & Cohen, H. L. (2004). An examination of the contributions of interactive peer play to salient classroom competencies for urban Head Start children. Psychology in the Schools, 41, 323–336.Google Scholar
  10. Fawcett, L. M., & Garton, A. F. (2005). The effect of peer collaboration on children’s problem-solving ability. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 157–169.Google Scholar
  11. Fischer, F., Bruhn, J., Graesel, C., & Mandl, H. (2002). Fostering collaborative knowledge construction with visualization tools. Learning and Instruction, 12, 213–232.Google Scholar
  12. Fleiss, J. L., & Shrout, P. E. (1977). The effects of measurement errors on some multivariate procedures. American Journal of Public Health, 67, 12–1188.Google Scholar
  13. Fuchs, T. & De Jaegher, H. (2009). Enactive intersubjectivity: Participatory sense making and mutual incorporation. Phenomenological cognitive science, Springer science online publication. Google Scholar
  14. Fung, W., & Cheng, R. (2017). Effect of School Pretend Play on Preschoolers’ Social Competence in Peer Interactions: Gender as a Potential Moderator. Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(1), 35–42.Google Scholar
  15. Gamberini, L., & Spagnolli, A. (2004). The "presence of others" in a virtual environment: Different collaborative modalities with hybrid resources. Cognition, Technology and Work, 6, 45–48.Google Scholar
  16. Garte, R. (2015). Inter-subjectivity as a measure of social competence among children attending Head Start: Assessing the measure's validity and relation to context. International Journal of Early Childhood, 47, 189207.Google Scholar
  17. Garte, R. (2016). A socio-cultural, activity- based account of preschooler intersubjectivity. Culture and Psychology, 22(2), 264–275.Google Scholar
  18. Gibson, J. J. (1986). The ecological approach to visual perception. Hillsdale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  19. Gifford-Smith, M. E., & Brownell, C. A. (2003). Childhood peer relationships: Social acceptance, friendships and peer networks. Journal of School Psychology, 41, 235–284.Google Scholar
  20. Gillespie & Cornish. (2009). Intersubjectivity: Towards a dialogical analysis. Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, 40, 19–29.Google Scholar
  21. Goncu, A. (1993). Development of inter-subjectivity in social pretend play. Human Development, 36, 185–198.Google Scholar
  22. Goncu, A., Patt, M. B., & Kouba, E. (2002). Understanding young children’s play in context. In P. K. Smith & C. H. Hart (Eds.), Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development (pp. 417–437). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  23. Grossen, M. (2010). Interaction analysis and psychology: A dialogical perspective. Integrative Psychological & Behavioral Science, 44(1), 1–22.Google Scholar
  24. Hamre, B. K., Pianta, R. C., Downer, J. T., & Mashburn, A. J. (2008). Teacher’s perceptions of problems with young students: Looking beyond problem behaviors. Social Development, 17, 115–136.Google Scholar
  25. Hanish, L. D., Barcelo, H., Martin, C. L., Fabes, R. A., Holmwall, J., & Palermo, F. (2007). Using the Q-Connectivity method to study frequency of interaction with multiple peer triads: Do preschoolers' peer group interactions at school relate to academic skills? New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 118, 9–24.Google Scholar
  26. Hanish, L. D., Martin, C. L., Fabes, R. A., & Barcelo, H. (2008). The breadth of peer relationships among preschoolers: An application of the Q-Connectivity method to externalizing behavior. Child Development, 79, 1119–1136.Google Scholar
  27. Head Start Bureau, of the Administration for Children and Families (2006). Policy statement downloaded from: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/. Accessed 5 May 2012.
  28. Hoey, E. M., DeLiema, D., Chen, R. S. Y., & Flood, V. J. (2018). Imitation in children’s locomotor play. Research on Children & Social Interaction, 2(1), 1–24.Google Scholar
  29. Hogan, C., & Howe, N. (2001). Do props matter in the dramatic play center? The effects of prop realism on children's play. Canadian Journal of Research in Early Childhood Education, 8, 51–66.Google Scholar
  30. Howe, N., Petrakos, H., Rinaldi, C., & Lefebvre, R. (2005). “This is a bad dog you know:” Constructing shared meanings during sibling pretend play. Child Development, 76, 783–794.Google Scholar
  31. Howes, C., & Matheson, C. C. (1992). Sequences in the development of competent play with peers: Social and social pretend play. Developmental Psychology, 28, 961–975.Google Scholar
  32. Keyton, J., & Beck, S. J. (2009). The influential role of relational messages in group interaction. Group Dynamics, 13(1), 14–30.Google Scholar
  33. Kozlowski, S. W. J., & Bell, B. S. (2003). Work groups and teams in organizations. In W. C. Borman, D. R. Ilgen, & R. J. Klimoski (Eds.), Handbook of psychology (Vol. 12): Industrial and Organizational Psychology (pp. 333–375). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  34. Kumpulainen, K., & Kaartinen, S. (2003). The interpersonal dynamics of collaborative reasoning in peer interactive dyads. The Journal of Experimental Education, 71, 333–370.Google Scholar
  35. Ladd, G. W., Birch, S. H., & Buhs, E. S. (1999). Children's social and scholastic lives in kindergarten: related spheres of influence? Child Development, 70, 1373–1400.Google Scholar
  36. Latour, B. (1996). On interobjectivity. Mind, Culture & Activity, 3(4), 228–245.Google Scholar
  37. Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science: selected theoretical papers (ED: Cartwright, D.). Oxford, England: Harpers.Google Scholar
  38. Li, J., Hestenes, L., & Wang, Y. (2016). Links Between Preschool Children’s Social Skills and Observed Pretend Play in Outdoor Childcare Environments. Early Childhood Education Journal, 44(1), 61–68.Google Scholar
  39. Lloyd, B., & Howe, N. (2003). Solitary play and convergent and divergent thinking skills in preschool children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 18, 22–41.Google Scholar
  40. McLoyd, V. C. (1983). The effects of the structure of play objects on the pretend play of low-income preschool children. Child Development, 54, 626–635.Google Scholar
  41. Miles, S. B., & Stipek, D. (2006). Contemporaneous and longitudinal associations between social behavior and literacy achievement in a sample of low-income elementary school children. Child Development, 77, 103–117.Google Scholar
  42. Parten, M. B. (1932). Social participation among preschool children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27(3), 243–269.Google Scholar
  43. Pellegrini, A. D. (2004). Observing children in their natural worlds. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  44. Peräkylä, A. (2004). Two traditions of interaction research. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43(1), 1–20.Google Scholar
  45. Peterson, S. S., Eisazadeh, N., Rajendram, S., & Portier, C. (2018). Young children’s language uses during play and implications for classroom assessment. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 43(2), 23–31.Google Scholar
  46. Petrakos, H., & Howe, N. (1996). The influence of the physical design of the dramatic play center on children’s play. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 11, 63–77.Google Scholar
  47. Pursi, A. (2019). Play in adult-child interaction: Institutional multi-party interaction and pedagogical practice in a toddler classroom. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 21, 136–150.Google Scholar
  48. Pursi, A., Lipponen, L., & Sajaniemi, N. K. (2018). Emotional and playful stance taking in joint play between adults and very young children. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 18, 28–45.Google Scholar
  49. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  50. Robinson, C. C., Anderson, G. T., Porter, C. L., Hart, C. H., & Wouden-Miller, M. (2003). Sequential transition patterns of preschoolers’ social interactions during child-initiated play: Is parallel-aware play a bi-directional bridge to other play states? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 18, 3–21.Google Scholar
  51. Rogoff, B. (2003). The cultural nature of human development. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  52. Roncancio-Moreno, M., & Branco, A. U. (2017). Developmental trajectories On Self in children during the transition from preschool to elementary school. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 14, 38–50.Google Scholar
  53. Roskos, K. & Neuman, S. B. (1998). Play as an opportunity for literacy. In O. N. Saracho and B. Spodek (Eds.). Multiple Perspectives on Play in Early Childhood Education. Albany, NY: Sate University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  54. Rubin, K.H. (2001). The Play Observation Scale, revised (POS). Center for Children, Relationships and Culture. University of Maryland.Google Scholar
  55. Shim, S., Herwig, J. E., & Shelley, M. (2001). Preschoolers' play behaviors with peers in classroom and playground settings. Journal of Research in Childhood Education, 15, 149–163.Google Scholar
  56. Smilansky, S. (1968). The effects of sociodramatic play on disadvantaged preschool children. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  57. Talamo, A., & Pozzi, S. (2011). The tension between dialogicality and interobjectivity in cooperative activities. Culture and Psychology, 17, 3.Google Scholar
  58. Trevarthen, C., & Aitken, A. K. (2001). Infant inter-subjectivity: Research, theory and clinical applications. Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology, 42, 3–48.Google Scholar
  59. Tunçgenç, B., & Cohen, E. (2018). Interpersonal movement synchrony facilitates pro-social behavior in children’s peer-play. Developmental Science, 21(1), n/a–1.Google Scholar
  60. van Schaik, S. D. M., Leseman, P. P. M., & de Haan, M. (2018). Using a Group-Centered Approach to Observe Interactions in Early Childhood Education. Child Development, 89(3), 897–913.Google Scholar
  61. Veiga, G., Leng, W., Cachucho, R., Ketelaar, L., Kok, J. N., Knobbe, A., et al. (2017). Social competence at the playground: Preschoolers during recess. Infant & Child Development, 26, 1.Google Scholar
  62. Weinberger, L. A., & Starkey, P. (1994). Pretend play by African American children in Head Start. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 9, 327–343.Google Scholar
  63. Whitington, V., & Floyd, I. (2009). Creating intersubjectivity during socio-dramatic play at an Australian kindergarten. Early Child Development & Care, 179(2), 143–156.Google Scholar
  64. Yates, T. M., & Marcelo, A. K. (2014). Through race-colored glasses: Preschoolers’ pretend play and teachers’ ratings of preschooler adjustment. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(1), 1–11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Borough of Manhattan Community College of the City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations