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postgraduate thesis: When free-play time is scarce in preschool : what predicts peer acceptance and friendship?

TitleWhen free-play time is scarce in preschool : what predicts peer acceptance and friendship?
Authors
Issue Date2015
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Tse, M. [謝文欣]. (2015). When free-play time is scarce in preschool : what predicts peer acceptance and friendship?. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5610971
AbstractPeer acceptance and friendship can predict children’s well-being and developmental outcomes. Social behaviors during free-play constitute one of the best predictors for peer acceptance. Nowadays some preschools place great emphasis on academic achievement, making free-play time scarce. How do children interact in such preschools? Can their social interactions nonetheless predict peer acceptance status? The present two studies addressed these questions. Study 1 laid the groundwork by developing reliable measures of the outcome variables, i.e., peer acceptance and sociometric status, in preschool classrooms with relatively large class size — over 35, quite typical of Hong Kong and more generally Asia. Two cohorts of children in a local 3-year preschool were interviewed twice. Cohort One was interviewed at the end of Years 2 and 3 (around ages 4 and 5). Cohort Two was interviewed in the middle of Year 2 and at the end of Year 2. Children were asked to rate how much they liked to play with each classmate and also to nominate three classmates they liked to play with the most. Children as young as age 4 could provide reliable information about peer acceptance. Children’s peer acceptance based on such ratings in the middle of Year 2 strongly predicted their peer acceptance at the end of Years 2 and 3. In prior studies, peer interaction among young children was often observed during free play, but this was not feasible in most Chinese-language 3-year half-day preschools in Hong Kong due to the scarcity of free play in such early childhood education settings. In Study 2, children’s peer-directed social behaviors were observed whenever they were not under close teacher supervision. These social behaviors, including play, communication, laughter, humor, and friendly physical contact (e.g., holding hands), were observed in Years 1 and 2 of the 3-year preschool program. Boys who played and communicated more in Years 1 and 2 turned out to be better liked by both boys and girls in Years 2 and 3, and girls who communicated more with peers early on were better liked by girls in Year 3. However, girls’ play behaviors in Year 2 were not associated with their peer acceptance. Furthermore, girls who had played more in Year 1 turned out to be less liked by girls in Year 3. Children who nominated each other as among the three most preferred playmates were paired as friends. Children with friends in Years 2 and 3 were found to have had engaged in more social behaviors in Year 2, compared to their friendless peers. Boys – but not girls – with friends in Year 2 had displayed more humor, laughter, and peer-directed behaviors in Year 1 than their friendless peers. Overall, even when free-play time was very limited (e.g., 15 minutes), children managed to interact with their classmates, and their peer interaction in preschool early on (i.e., Years 1 and 2) did predict peer acceptance and sociometric status later on (i.e., Years 2 and 3). Clear sex differences were uncovered, perhaps due to sex differences in self-regulations and sex-stereotype expectations.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectFriendship in children
Social acceptance in children
Play
Dept/ProgramPsychology
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221211

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorTse, Man-yan-
dc.contributor.author謝文欣-
dc.date.accessioned2015-11-04T23:12:00Z-
dc.date.available2015-11-04T23:12:00Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationTse, M. [謝文欣]. (2015). When free-play time is scarce in preschool : what predicts peer acceptance and friendship?. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5610971-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/221211-
dc.description.abstractPeer acceptance and friendship can predict children’s well-being and developmental outcomes. Social behaviors during free-play constitute one of the best predictors for peer acceptance. Nowadays some preschools place great emphasis on academic achievement, making free-play time scarce. How do children interact in such preschools? Can their social interactions nonetheless predict peer acceptance status? The present two studies addressed these questions. Study 1 laid the groundwork by developing reliable measures of the outcome variables, i.e., peer acceptance and sociometric status, in preschool classrooms with relatively large class size — over 35, quite typical of Hong Kong and more generally Asia. Two cohorts of children in a local 3-year preschool were interviewed twice. Cohort One was interviewed at the end of Years 2 and 3 (around ages 4 and 5). Cohort Two was interviewed in the middle of Year 2 and at the end of Year 2. Children were asked to rate how much they liked to play with each classmate and also to nominate three classmates they liked to play with the most. Children as young as age 4 could provide reliable information about peer acceptance. Children’s peer acceptance based on such ratings in the middle of Year 2 strongly predicted their peer acceptance at the end of Years 2 and 3. In prior studies, peer interaction among young children was often observed during free play, but this was not feasible in most Chinese-language 3-year half-day preschools in Hong Kong due to the scarcity of free play in such early childhood education settings. In Study 2, children’s peer-directed social behaviors were observed whenever they were not under close teacher supervision. These social behaviors, including play, communication, laughter, humor, and friendly physical contact (e.g., holding hands), were observed in Years 1 and 2 of the 3-year preschool program. Boys who played and communicated more in Years 1 and 2 turned out to be better liked by both boys and girls in Years 2 and 3, and girls who communicated more with peers early on were better liked by girls in Year 3. However, girls’ play behaviors in Year 2 were not associated with their peer acceptance. Furthermore, girls who had played more in Year 1 turned out to be less liked by girls in Year 3. Children who nominated each other as among the three most preferred playmates were paired as friends. Children with friends in Years 2 and 3 were found to have had engaged in more social behaviors in Year 2, compared to their friendless peers. Boys – but not girls – with friends in Year 2 had displayed more humor, laughter, and peer-directed behaviors in Year 1 than their friendless peers. Overall, even when free-play time was very limited (e.g., 15 minutes), children managed to interact with their classmates, and their peer interaction in preschool early on (i.e., Years 1 and 2) did predict peer acceptance and sociometric status later on (i.e., Years 2 and 3). Clear sex differences were uncovered, perhaps due to sex differences in self-regulations and sex-stereotype expectations.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshFriendship in children-
dc.subject.lcshSocial acceptance in children-
dc.subject.lcshPlay-
dc.titleWhen free-play time is scarce in preschool : what predicts peer acceptance and friendship?-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5610971-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplinePsychology-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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