Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Larson, Susan


Guided play is the midpoint between direct instruction and free play. It provides a learning goal with teacher scaffolding which allows children to control their learning (Weisberg, et al., 2013). Guided play learning experiences combine child-directed play with a focus on learning targets set forth by an adult. Guided play enhances the discovery and achievement of learning goals by allowing children to explore in an uninhibited setting. Guided play promotes critical social and emotional skills that are necessary for child development such as problem-solving abilities. Guided play is shown to increase mathematical performance, especially in young students. Literacy is another area that benefits from play. Children in guided play often use higher forms of language than normal (Lewis, Boucher, Lupton, & Watson, 2000). Children learn best when they are in active, engaged, constructive and interactive environments. Identifying ways that guided play benefits children’s social and emotional skills, mathematic skills, literacy skills, and how technology fits into play is essential to children’s development and growth. There are many benefits of guided play and this research will support the pedagogy of guided play.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis