"When a Child Pretends" Airs on Public Television

When a Child Pretends

The value of pretend play for a child's development is the theme of a new film, When a Child Pretends, conceived at the Child Development Institute of Sarah Lawrence College, and produced for public television by Jonathan Diamond Associates. Narrated by Joanne Woodward, the film features the Child Development Institute faculty and children at play. When a Child Pretends was filmed at the Sarah Lawrence College Early Childhood Center and the Central Park East I school in New York City.

The film suggests that what many adults label "just play" is in fact essential self-directed exploration and invention, which directly contribute to children's intellectual, social, emotional and creative development. However, due to increasing trends toward early academics in pre-school, concerns with diverting time and attention from the basics in the elementary grades, and the proliferation of computerized and other highly structured activities, such play can be in peril at home and at school.

"Play is the most fertile area for the development of the child's mind," says Margery Franklin, Roy E. Larsen Professor of Psychology at Sarah Lawrence. It is the matrix in which interests and capabilities, as well as intellectual and imaginative strengths, are first explored and tested. As they play, alone or with others, children are experimenting with language and hypothetical thought, as well as developing skills that will be central in their elementary years and in adult life, including cooperation, negotiation, improvisation, compromise, and problem solving.

When a Child Pretends emphasizes that imaginative play does not fade away as children get older, nor does its value diminish. The results of the learning which occurs during play, can be seen in the growing ability to think hypothetically and test ideas, the development of literacy, and the skills necessary for a lifetime of intellectual, social, emotional, and creative development.

Imaginative play stems from a precious and vital impulse, which parents, teachers, and policy makers must value and support. Says Yvette Richardson, Child Development Institute Consultant, "Child's play is the core that the earliest years require in order for individuals to grow creatively, academically, and socially."

The Child Development Institute at Sarah Lawrence College was established in 1987. Through its ongoing programs, conferences, and lectures, the institute serves as a resource for professionals in child development and education.

The Early Childhood Center is a school for children two through six years of age. A setting for undergraduate and graduate student fieldwork and faculty research, it is also a training resource for students and staff from other institutions.

Photographs are available to the press.


Public Television Stations airing When A Child Pretends
May - July, 1999

Idaho Public Television

Saturday, May 15 @ 7:30am

WBGU/Bowling Green, OH

Thursday, May 20 @ 2:30pm

WLRN/Miami, FL

Saturday, May 23@ 11:30 am

WLIW/Long Island, NY

Tuesday, May 25 @ 9pm

AETN/Arkansas Network

Sunday, May 30 @ 12:30pm & Monday May 31 @ 2:30pm

WFYI/Indianapolis, IN

Wednesday, May 26 @ 10:30pm

KENW/Portales, NM

Date to follow

WMVS/Milwaukee, WI

Sunday, June 6 @ 7am

WNET/New York, NY

Sunday, June 20 @ 1pm

WVPT/Harrisonburg, VA

Thursday, June 17 @ 1pm

CPTV/Hartford, CT

Date to follow

GPTV/Atlanta, GA

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KCTS/Seattle, WA

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KQED/San Francisco, CA

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KRSC/Claremont, OK

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KSMQ/Austin, MN

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KTCA/Minneapolis, MN

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KTEH/San Jose, CA

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WCET/Cincinnati, OH

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WDCN/Nashville, TN

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WETA/Washington, DC

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KAET/Phoenix, AZ

Wednesday, July 7 @ 10:30pm, Sunday, July 11 @ 4:30pm

Iowa Public Television

Date to follow

KCSM/San Mateo

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KCWC/Riverton, WY

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KENT/Lexington, KY

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KIXE/Redding, CA

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KLRN/San Antonio, TX

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KOPB/Portland, OR

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KUSM/Bozeman, MT

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KVCR/San Bernadino, CA

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Maryland PTV

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South Carolina ETV

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WCEU/Daytona Beach, FL

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WCNY/Syracuse, NY

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WCTE/Cookville, TN

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WGBH/Boston, MA

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WILL/Urbana, IL

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WITF/Harrisburg, PA

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WKNO/Memphis, TN

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WLAE/New Orleans, LA

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WLJT/Martin, TN

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WMHT/Schenectady, NY

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WNED/Buffalo, NY

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WNED/Buffalo, NY

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WTTW/Chicago, IL

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WTVS/Detroit, MI

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