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Joseph, B. (1953). Understanding Children's Play: By R. Hartley, L. Frank, and R. Goldenson. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1952. Pp. xvi + 372. 21 s.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 34:337.

(1953). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 34:337

Understanding Children's Play: By R. Hartley, L. Frank, and R. Goldenson. (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1952. Pp. xvi + 372. 21 s.)

Review by:
Betty Joseph

In 1947 the Caroline Zachry Institute sponsored and provided facilities for 'an exploratory study of play in fostering healthy personality development of young children'. This book is a description of the findings of this study, and is written explicitly for parents and teachers. Something of its scope and content can be gauged from such chapter headings as: 'Dramatic Play'; 'Instrument for Growth'; 'In the Block Corner'; 'The Benefits of Water Play'; 'What Clay can do for the Child', etc. Short descriptions of play involving the materials mentioned are given, and some interpretations of the meaning of the play suggested. The value of the types of material described is discussed. This method of presentation necessarily involves considerable repetition, since one of the main tenets of the book is that play is valuable for self-expression and self-discovery, and these points emerge and are exemplified in some way with each new material described.

From the point of view of psycho-analysts, the description and interpretations of play may well appear rather oversimplified and sometimes facile, and it is very possible that educators in Great Britain would not find much here that was new. Nevertheless, the book's general tone is lively and shows a deep awareness of the value and constructive possibilities of play and of various types of play equipment for the healthy development of children.

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