Rethinking play in preschool classrooms: The cognitive, affective and contextual roles of constructive play in storytelling and retelling performance

Man Chi Sandrine CHUNG

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Theses


Whether learning through play is an appropriate and effective way of learning for young children is always on debate. Teachers, parents and scholars from different parts of the world have three distinct perceptions of the concept: play is a separate activity from learning, play is a driver for learning, and play can be highly integrated with learning. Play is highly related to and can be integrated with learning. However, adults still doubt the effectiveness of learning through play. Teachers encounter difficulties in implementing the concept in their teaching because of misunderstanding and limited guidelines and definitions.
This project aims to reveal the close relationship between the three common activities in preschool classrooms: play, storytelling and story retelling. The three separate studies are designed to investigate the effectiveness of three play activities on storytelling and story retelling performance, including the relationship between executive functioning and the storytelling and retelling performance in five- year- old children. Furthermore, it aims to propose a model that reveals contributing factors to high storytelling and retelling performance. Semi-structured and free play help enhance the storytelling and retelling performance of children owing to the cognitive process involved in the specific instructional procedures, positive motivation and affection, and certain contextual characteristics of the activities. The significance of this research project is that it provides empirical evidence of the effectiveness of play on oral language production. This project also extends the definition of free play in a comprehensive manner. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • The Education University of Hong Kong
  • YIP, Chi Wing, Michael 葉志榮, Supervisor
  • WONG, Wai Lap Simpson, Supervisor
  • CHENG, Pui Wah Doris, Supervisor, External person
  • WONG, Wai Ho Savio, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Constructive play
  • Story retelling
  • Storytelling
  • Executive functions
  • Creativity
  • Theses and Dissertations
  • Thesis (Mphil)--The Education University of Hong Kong, 2019.


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