Expressive symbolic play may fill a heuristic role in the small child’s attempt to assimilate events and feelings for which he does not yet have concepts or words.” ~ William M Schafer p.17

Some years ago now, William M Schafer wrote an article on the communicative (?) and meaning-making purpose(s) of symbolic play in children under 2 years of age. In spite of a great deal of supposition on the part of the adults in terms of what was going on inside the child’s mind, the write-up is interesting. I particularly enjoyed the introductory paragraph:

“The potential function of imaginative play in development has been described by a number of authors over the last several decades. Piaget (1951), Vygotsky (1967), and Werner and Kaplan (1 963) have each emphasized the role of play in extending the scope of intelligent activity from the here-and-now of sensorimotor cognition to the…

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