Young children’s language uses during play and implications for
classroom assessment

Shelley Stagg Peterson, Nazila Eisazadeh, Shakina Rajendram and Christine Portier
University of Toronto

This paper reports on research examining children’s use of language in dramatic play and play with construction materials in kindergarten classrooms within three Indigenous and two non-Indigenous northern Canadian rural communities. Underpinned by sociolinguistic theory, the research involves inductive analysis of video-recorded interactions of five-year-old children during play. Participating children used language for 36 different purposes. Children’s construction play talk often involved purposes within the categories of Language for learning and Language for own needs. Children often used language for purposes associated with the Language for learning and Language for imagining categories in dramatic play. As part of collaborative action research, teachers and researchers used these findings to develop a formative oral language observation tool. Using the tool, information gathered can inform practice and communication with parents and speech-language pathologists working with identified children.

Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Volume 43 Number 2 June 2018.

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