Advertisement

Playworlds and Executive Functions in Children: Theorising with the Cultural-Historical Analytical Lenses

Abstract

This paper provides a theorisation of developmental conditions to support executive functions (working memory, inhibition and shifting) in children in playworlds settings, where children and teachers play together in collectively created imaginary situations. Vygotsky’s general law of development of psychological functions constitutes the general frame for the analysis of the process of development of executive functions (EF) in playworlds, and the theoretical concepts of drama, social situation of development and perezhivanie are used as analytical tools to examine opportunities of playworlds to support children executive functions.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA

Subscribe to journal

Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.

US$ 99

This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.

Notes

  1. 1.

    The concept of perezhivanie will be presented in the following section as a concept of analysis of the “intra-psychological” plane of development of EF in playworlds.

  2. 2.

    ‘Source’ here is not a metaphor, such as the source of a river from which the water flows naturally, but rather a well to take water from.

  3. 3.

    Vygotsky uses the word черпать (to scoop) in Russian original text, like scooping water from the well.

  4. 4.

    In the original Russian text the verb perezhival (переживал) is used. This is the past singular grammatical form of the verb perezhivat’ (переживать), from which the noun perezhivanie has been derived.

  5. 5.

    In the Russian original text «у троих детей возникло три разных переживания одной и той же ситуации» (three different perezhivanie of the same situation appeared in three children) (Vygotsky 2001, pp. 74–75).

References

  1. Alexander, K. L., Entwisle, D. R., & Dauber, S. L. (1993). First-grade classroom behavior: Its short- and long-term consequences for school performance. Child Development, 64(3), 801–814.

  2. Antoniadou, V. (2001). Virtual collaboration, ‘perezhivanie’ and teacher learning: A socio-cultural-historical perspective. Bellaterra Journal of Teaching & Learning Language & Literature, 4(3), 53–70.

  3. Baddeley, A. (2006). Working memory: An overview. In S. J. Pickering (Ed.), Working memory and education (pp. 1–31). New York: Academic Press.

  4. Bascandziev, I., Powell, L. J., Harris, P. L., & Carey, S. (2016). A role for executive functions in explanatory understanding of the physical world. Cognitive Development, 39, 71–85.

  5. Baumer, S. (2013). Play pedagogy and playworlds. In R. E. Tremblay, M. Boivin, & Peters (Eds.), Encyclopedia on early childhood development [online]. Retrieved from http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/play/according-experts/play-pedagogy-and-playworlds. Accessed February 25, 2018.

  6. Becker, D. R., McClelland, M. M., Loprinzi, P., & Trost, S. G. (2014). Physical activity, self-regulation, and early academic achievement in preschool children. Early Education and Development, 25(1), 56–70.

  7. Berk, L. E., & Meyers, A. B. (2013). The role of make-believe play in the development of executive function. American Journal of Play, 6(1), 98–110.

  8. Berk, L. E., Mann, T. D., & Ogan, A. T. (2006). Make-believe play: wellspring for development of self-regulation. In D. G. Singer, R. M. Golinkoff, & K. A. Hirsh-Pasek (Eds.), Play=learning: How play motivates and enhances cognitive and social-emotional growth (pp. 74–100). New York: Oxford University Press.

  9. Bialystok, E., & Martin, M. (2003). Notation to symbol: Development in children’s understanding of print. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 86, 223–243.

  10. Blair, C. (2002). School readiness: Integrating cognition and emotion in a neurobiological conceptualization of children's functioning at school entry. American Psychologist, 57(2), 111–127.

  11. Blair, C. (2016). Developmental science and executive function. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(1), 3–7.

  12. Bodrova, E., & Leong, D. (2006). Self-regulation as a key to school readiness: How early childhood teachers can promote this critical competency. In M. Zaslow & I. Martinez-Beck (Eds.), Critical issues in early childhood professional development (pp. 203–224). Baltimore: Brookes.

  13. Bodrova, E., Leong, D. J., & Akhutina, T. (2011). When everything new is well-forgotten old: Vygotsky/Luria insights in the development of executive functions. In R. M. Lerner, J. V. Lerner, E. P. Bowers, S. Lewin-Bizan, S. Gestsdottir, & J. B. Urban (Eds.), Thriving in childhood and adolescence: The role of self-regulation processes: new directions for child and adolescent development (pp. 11–28). Jossey-Bass: Wiley Periodicals.

  14. Bodrova, E., Germeroth, C., & Leong, D. (2013). Play and self-regulation: Lessons from Vygotsky. American Journal of Play, 6(1), 11–123.

  15. Brennan, M. (2014). Perezhivanie: What have we missed about infant care? Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 15(3), 284–292.

  16. Brocki, K. C., & Bohlin, G. (2004). Executive functions in children aged 6 to 13: A dimensional and developmental study. Developmental Neuropsychology, 26(2), 571–593.

  17. Bull, R., & Scerif, G. (2001). Executive functioning as a predictor of children's mathematics ability: Inhibition, switching, and working memory. Developmental Neuropsychology, 19(3), 273–293.

  18. Chen, F. (2015). Parents’ perezhivanie supports children’s development of emotion regulation: A holistic view. Early Child Development and Care, 185(6), 851–867.

  19. Davidson, M. C., Amso, D., Anderson, L. C., & Diamond, A. (2006). Development of cognitive control and executive functions from 4–13 years: Evidence from manipulations of memory, inhibition, and task switching. Neuropsychologia, 44(11), 2037–2078.

  20. Deák, G. (2000). The growth of flexible problem solving: Preschool children use changing verbal cues to infer multiple word meanings. Journal of Cognition and Development, 1, 157–191.

  21. Denckla, M. B., & Reiss, A. L. (1997). Prefrontal-subcortical circuits in developmental disorders. In N. A. Krasnegor, G. R. Lyon, & P. S. Goldman-Rakic (Eds.), Development of the prefrontal cortex: Evolution, neurobiology, and behavior (pp. 283–293). Baltimore: Brookes.

  22. Diamond, A. (2013). Executive functions. Annual Review of Psychology, 64, 135–168.

  23. Dockett, S., & Perry, B. (2007). Transitions to school: Perceptions, expectations and experiences. Sydney: UNSW Press.

  24. Elias, C., & Berk, L. (2002). Self-regulation in young children: Is there a role for sociodramatic play? Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 17(2), 216–238.

  25. Ferholt, B. (2009). The development of cognition, emotion, imagination and creativity as made visible through adult-child joint play: Perezhivanie through playworlds. (doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest dissertations and theses. (ISBN 9781109162752).

  26. Ferholt, B. (2010). A synthetic-analytic method for the study of perezhivanie: Vygotsky literary analysis applied to playworlds. In M. C. Connery, V. John-Steiner, & A. Marjanovic-Shane (Eds.), Vygotsky and creativity: A cultural-historical approach to play, meaning making, and the arts (pp. 163–179). New York: Peter Lang.

  27. Ferholt, B. (2015). Perezhivanie in researching playworlds: Applying the concept of perezhivanie in the study of play. In S. Davis, B. Ferholt, G. Clemson, S. Jansson, & A. Marjanovic-Shane (Eds.), Vygotskian and sociocultural approaches to drama, education and research (pp. 57–79). London: Bloomsbury Academic.

  28. Ferholt, B., & Lecusay, R. (2010). Adult and child development in the zone of proximal development: Socratic dialogue in a playworld. Mind, Culture and Activity, 17(1), 59–83.

  29. Fernyhough, C. (2010). Vygotsky, Luria, and the social brain. In B. Sokol, U. Muller, J. Carpendale, A. Young, & G. Iarocci (Eds.), Self-and Social-Regulation: Exploring the Relations Between Social Interaction, Social Understanding, and the Development of Executive Functions (pp. 56–80). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  30. Fleer, M. (2014). Theorizing play in the early years. New York: Springer.

  31. Fleer, M. (2016). An everyday and theoretical reading of perezhivanie for informing research in early childhood education. International Research in Early Childhood Education, 7(1), 34–49.

  32. Fleer, M. (2017). Digital playworlds in an Australia context. In T. Bruce, M. Bredikyte, & P. Hakkarainen (Eds.), Routledge handbook of play in early childhood (pp. 289–304). London: Routledge Press, Taylor and Francis Group.

  33. Fleer, M., & Hammer, M. (2013). ‘Perezhivanie’ in group settings: A cultural-historical reading of emotion regulation. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 38(3), 127–134.

  34. Fleer, M., Gonzales Rey, F., & Veresov, N. (2017). Continuing the dialogue: Advancing conceptions of emotions, perezhivanie and subjectivity for the study of human development. In Fleer et al. (Eds.), Perezhivanie, emotions and subjectivity: Advancing Vygotsky legacy (pp. 247–261). New York: Springer.

  35. Fleer, M., Veresov, N., & Walker, S. (2017a). Re-conceptualizing executive functions as social activity in children's playworlds. Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, 14, 1–11.

  36. Fleer, M., Harrison, L. J., Veresov, N., & Walker, S. (2017b). Working with teachers’ pedagogical strengths: The design of executive function activities for play-based programs. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 42(4), 47–55.

  37. Garon, N., Bryson, S., & Smith, I. (2008). Executive function in preschoolers: A review using an integrative framework. Psychological Bulletin, 134(1), 31–60.

  38. Gill, S., Winters, D., & Friedman, D. S. (2006). Educators’ views of pre- kindergarten and kindergarten readiness and transition practices. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 7(3), 213–227.

  39. Hakkarainen, P. (2006). Learning and development in play. In J. Einarsdottir & J. T. Wagner (Eds.), Nordic childhoods and early education: Philosophy, research, policy, and practice in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden (pp. 183–222). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.

  40. Hakkarainen, P. (2008). The challenges and possibilities of a narrative learning approach in the Finnish early childhood education system. International Journal of Educational Research, 47(5), 292–300.

  41. Hakkarainen, P. (2010). Cultural historical methodology of the study of human development in transitions. Journal of Cultural Historical Psychology, 4, 76–81.

  42. Hakkarainen, P., Brėdikytė, M., Jakkula, K., & Munter, H. (2013). Adult play guidance and children's play development in a narrative play-world. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 21(2), 213–225.

  43. Hammond, S., Bibok, M & and Carpendale, J. (2010). Theoretical perspectives on self and social regulation. In B. W. Sokol, U. Müller, J. M. Carpendale, A. Young & G. Larocci (Eds.). Self and social regulation, (pp. 1–7), New York: Oxford University Press.

  44. Hughes, C. (1998). Executive function in preschoolers: Links with theory of mind and verbal ability. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 16, 233–253.

  45. Hughes, C., & Graham, A. (2002). Measuring executive functions in childhood: Problems and solutions? Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 7(3), 131–142.

  46. Kelly, R., Dissanayake, C., Ihsen, E., & Hammond, S. (2011). The relationship between symbolic play and executive function in young children. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, 36(2), 21–27.

  47. Lehto, J. E., Juujarvi, P., Kooistra, L., & Pulkkinen, L. (2003). Dimensions of executive functioning: Evidence from children. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 21, 59–80.

  48. Lindqvist, G. (1995). The aesthetics of play: A didactic study of play and culture in preschools. (doctoral dissertation). Uppsala University, Sweden.

  49. Lindqvist, G. (1996). The aesthetics of play: A didactic study of play and culture in preschools. Early Years, 17(1), 6–11.

  50. Lindqvist, G. (2001). When small children play: How adults dramatize and children create meaning. Early Years, 21(1), 7–14.

  51. Lindqvist, G. (2003). Vygotsky’s theory of creativity. Creativity Research Journal, 15(4), 245–251.

  52. Manuilenko, Z. (1975). The development of voluntary behavior by preschool-age children. Soviet Psychology and Psychiatry, 13, 65–116.

  53. Margetts, K. (2007). Understanding and supporting children: Shaping transition practices. In A. H. Dunlop & H. Fabian (Eds.), Informing transitions: Bridging research, policy and practice (pp. 107–199). London: Open University Press.

  54. Marjanovic-Shane, A., Ferholt, B., Miyazaki, K., Nilsson, M., Rainio, A. P., Hakkarainen, P., Pesic, M., & Beljanski-Ristic, L. (2011). Playworlds - an art of development. Play and Culture, 11, 3–31.

  55. Martin, J., & Failows, L. (2010). Executive function: theoretical concerns. In B. Sokol, U. Muller, J. Carpendale, A. Young, & G. Iarocci (Eds.), Self-and social-regulation: Exploring the relations between social interaction, social understanding, and the development of executive functions (pp. 35–56). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  56. McClelland, M. M., Acock, A. C., & Morrison, F. J. (2006). The impact of kindergarten learning-related skills on academic trajectories at the end of elementary school. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 21(4), 471–490.

  57. McClelland, M. M., Cameron, C. E., Connor, C. M., Farris, C. L., Jewkes, A. M., & Morrison, F. J. (2007). Links between behavioral regulation and preschoolers’ literacy, vocabulary and math skills. Developmental Psychology, 43(4), 947–959.

  58. McClelland, M. M., Acock, A. C., Piccinin, A., Rhea, S. A., & Stallings, M. C. (2013). Relations between preschool attention span-persistence and age 25 educational outcomes. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28(2), 314–324.

  59. Mok, N. (2017). On the concept of perezhivanie: A quest for critical review. In M. Fleer, R. F. Gonzales, & N. Veresov (Eds.), Perezhivanie, emotions and subjectivity: Advancing Vygotsky legacy (pp. 19–46). New York: Springer.

  60. Nilsson, M. (2009). Creative pedagogy of play- the work of Gunilla Lindqvist. Mind, Culture and Activity, 17(1), 14–22.

  61. O’Sullivan, L. P., Mitchell, L. L., & Daehler, M. W. (2001). Representation and perseveration: Influences on young children’s representational insight. Journal of Cognition and Development, 2, 339–365.

  62. Packiam Alloway, T. (2018). Introduction. In T. Packiam Alloway (Ed.), Working memory and clinical developmental disorders: Theories, debates and interventions (pp. 1–9). London: Routledge.

  63. Perner, J., Lang, B., & Kloo, D. (2002). Theory of mind and self-control: More than a common problem of inhibition. Child Development, 73(3), 752–767.

  64. Quiñones, G., & Fleer, M. (2011). "Visual Vivencias": A cultural-historical tool for understanding the lived experiences of young children's everyday lives. In E. Johansson & J. White (Eds.), Educational research with our youngest: Voices of infants and toddlers (pp. 107–133). Netherlands: Springer.

  65. Röthlisberger, M., Neuenschwander, R., Cimeli, P., Michel, E., & Roebers, C. M. (2012). Improving executive functions in 5- and 6-year-olds: Evaluation of a small group intervention in prekindergarten and kindergarten children. Infant and Child Development, 21(4), 411–429.

  66. Singer, J. L. (1961). Imagination and waiting ability in young children. Journal of Personality, 29, 396–413.

  67. Stetsenko, A., & Vianna, E. (2009). Bridging developmental theory and educational practice: Lessons from the Vygotskian project. In O. Barbarin & B. Hanna Wasik (Eds.), Handbook of child development and early education: Research to practice (pp. 38–54). New York: Guilford.

  68. Subbotsky, E. (2016). Vygotsky-Luria approach towards “conscious action” and current research on “executive function”. Sententia. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. DOI: https://doi.org/10.7256/1339-3057.2016.1.17387 Retrieved from http://e-notabene.ru/psen/article_17387.html Accessed April 2019, 1, 48, 74.

  69. Vadeboncoeur, J., Perone, A., & Panina-Beard, N. (2016). Creativity as a practice of freedom: Imaginative play, moral imagination, and the production of culture. In V. P. Glaveanu (Ed.), The Palgrave handbook of creativity and cultural research (pp. 285–307). Aalborg: Palgrave MacMillan.

  70. Veresov, N. (2017). The concept of perezhivanie in cultural-historical theory: Content and contexts. In M. Fleer, R. F. Gonzales Rey, & N. Veresov (Eds.), Perezhivanie, emotions and subjectivity: Advancing Vygotsky legacy (pp. 47–70). New York: Springer.

  71. Veresov, N., & Fleer, M. (2016). Perezhivanie as a theoretical concept for researching young children’s development. Mind, Culture and Activity, 23(4), 325–335.

  72. Vygotsky, L. S. (1989). Concrete human psychology. Soviet Psychology, 27(2), 53–77.

  73. Vygotsky, L. S. (1994). The problem of the environment. In J. Valsiner & R. Van der Veer (Eds.), The Vygotsky reader (pp. 347–348). Oxford: Blackwell.

  74. Vygotsky, L. S. (1997). The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky, Vol. 4: The history of the development of higher mental functions. NY: Plenum Press.

  75. Vygotsky, L. S. (1998). The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky (Vol. 5). New York: Plenum Press.

  76. Vygotsky, L. S. (2001). Lektsii po pedologii [Lectures on pedology). Izevsk: Izdatelstvo Udmurdskogo Universiteta.

  77. Vygotsky, L. S. (2016). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. International Research in Early Childhood Education, 7(2), 3–25.

  78. Welsh, M. C. (2002). Developmental and clinical variations in executive functions. In D. Molfese & V. Molfese (Eds.), Developmental variations in learning: Applications to social, executive function, language, and reading skills (pp. 139–185). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

  79. Welsh, M. C., Friedman, S. L., & Spieker, S. (2008). Executive functions in developing children: Current conceptualizations and questions for the future. In K. McCartney & D. Phillips (Eds.), Blackwell handbook of early childhood development (pp. 176–187). Oxford: Blackwell.

  80. Zelazo, P. D., & Müller, U. (2010). Executive function in typical and atypical development. In U. Goswami (Ed.), The Wiley-Blackwell handbook of childhood cognitive development (pp. 574–602). Malden: Blackwell Publishers.

  81. Zelazo, P. D., Carter, A., Reznick, J. S., & Frye, D. (1997). Early development of executive function: A problem-solving framework. Review of General Psychology, 1, 198–226.

  82. Zelazo, P. D., Muller, U., Frye, D., & Marcovitch, S. (2003). The development of executive function in early childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 68(3, Serial No. 274)), 1–27.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Nikolai Veresov.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

Authors declare they have no conflict of interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Fleer, M., Veresov, N. & Walker, S. Playworlds and Executive Functions in Children: Theorising with the Cultural-Historical Analytical Lenses. Integr. psych. behav. 54, 124–141 (2020) doi:10.1007/s12124-019-09495-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Executive functions
  • Cultural-historical theory
  • Playworlds
  • Drama
  • Social situation of development
  • Perezhivanie