Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date



The past decade has seen an explosion of brain research and early childhood policies resulting in academics as a priority at state-funded preschools. Although strongly supported through a century of research, play often is pushed out by a more formalized, academic curriculum. Under the direction of the No Child Left Behind Act (2002), and the Race to the Top' program, states have developed early learning standards to inform preschool teachers and direct the education and assessment of preschool children in the United States. Through content analysis early learning standards for the 50 states and the District of Columbia were examined for the frequency of the word play. This study found a range of play frequency in the standards documents across the United States written in response to federal mandates. Case studies of 6 states illustrate the position of play and the prioritization, acceptance or omission of the play as learning paradigm.'


Play assessment (Child psychology), Early childhood education

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Thought and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Gutierrez-Gomez, Cathy

Second Committee Member

Martinez, Glenabah

Third Committee Member

Scherba de Valenzuela, Julia

Fourth Committee Member

Winograd, Peter