Exploring the Benefits of Unstructured and Scaffolded Play

Worksite Location
Project Dates
June 3-July 29
Faculty Sponsor
Marianella Casasola
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Ana Maria Canas
Wages Up To
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The goals of the present study are two-fold. First, we seek to understand preschool children’s learning under different types of play. In particular, we compare children’s learning following unstructured naturalistic play versus scaffolded play with an experimenter. Our goal is to understand if particular types of play experiences are better suited for promoting particular spatial skills, in this case, pattern building, a skill linked to later math skills (Rittle-Johnson, Zippert, & Boice, 2018). A second goal is to explore the degree to which parents view play as a valid venue for promoting school readiness. 

Roles and Responsibilities

The intern will work with Ana Maria Cañas in the NYC CCE office to find centers for participant recruitment. The intern will take primary responsibility for recruiting and testing children in the study. The intern will also be in responsible for storing the data. The intern will meet with the faculty mentor via Zoom each week.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

The intern will need a strong background in child language and cognitive development. It would ideal to have the intern be bilingual in English and Spanish to be able to work with Spanish-speaking families. Also ideal is to have the intern train in the Cornell Infant Studies and Play and Learning lab during the spring semester to prepare for the summer internship.

Benefits and Skills

The intern will learn to design and conduct research with children and will gain experience with assessing children's spatial skills. The intern will have the opportunity to interview parents about their views of child learning and their view of play in promoting their child’s learning.