Flerida Matos

University of Rhode Island

Early Childhood Education


Mentor: Michael Kalinowski, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Family Studies

Low Income Latino Mothers' Perception of Play

Play, a spontaneous self-regulated activity most children engage in, has been the subject of many research studies. Recent research findings suggest that play is a key element in children's physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Through play children face fears, develop friendships, acquire an understanding of abstract concepts such as time and money value, and engage in activities that lead towards a healthy physical development. This research study investigates where low income Latino mothers' perception of play stands in relation to findings yielded by research studies done on this topic, and which have come to shape our present view of not only play but child development in general. The mothers who participated in the study completed a modified version of the Parent as a Teacher Inventory (PAAT). This questionnaire examines the subjects' attitudes and behavior regarding children's play, as well as other factors that have an influence on their development. The subjects completed the questionnaire in their own homes in the presence of the researcher. Twenty Latino mothers with children ages three to six participated in the study. The independent variables examined were household income, mothers' level of education, the number of children, the age of the child the mother referred to when completing the questionnaire, and the time she regularly spends playing with the child. On the other hand, the dependent variables were creativity, control, and play. The findings of this research represent a valuable tool for developing programs that better serve the individual needs of low income Latino mothers and their children.

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