Can Guidance During Play Enhance Children’s Learning and Development in Educational Contexts? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis


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Authors
Skene, Kayleigh 
O'Farrelly, Christine 
Byrne, Elizabeth 
Stevens, Elosie 
Abstract

This systematic review and meta-analysis considered evidence of guided play compared to direct instruction or free play to support children’s learning and development. Interventions from 39 studies were reviewed (published 1977-2020); 17 were included in meta-analysis (N total = 3,893; M childage = 1 – 8 years; M girls 49.8%; M ethnicity; White 41%, African American/Black 28%, Hispanic 19%). Guided play had a greater positive effect than direct instruction on early maths skills (g = 0.24), shape knowledge (g = 0.63) and task switching (g = 0.40); and than free play on spatial vocabulary (g = 0.93). Differences were not identified for other key outcomes. Narrative synthesis highlighted heterogeneity in conceptualisation and implementation of guided play across studies.

Description

Funder: LEGO Foundation

Keywords
Black or African American, Child, Female, Humans, Knowledge, Learning, Mathematics, Vocabulary
Journal Title
Child Development
Conference Name
Journal ISSN
0009-3920
1467-8624
Volume Title
Publisher
Wiley
Sponsorship
LEGO Foundation (PEDAL 2018-2023)
LEGO Foundation