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AltaGracia Salinas-Casper

November 14, 2019 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm MST

Dissertation Information

Title: The Convergence of Negotiated Imaginative Play, Literacy Learning and Kindergarten Common Core English Language Arts Standards

Program: Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor: Dr. Eun Hye Son, Literacy, Language, and Culture

Committee Members: Dr. Maggie Chase, Literacy, Language, and Culture and Dr. Stan Steiner, Literacy, Language, and Culture


The implementation of strict academic requirements is replacing play as a previously widely accepted developmentally appropriate practice in kindergarten classrooms around the United States, resulting in an imbalance in cultivating the whole child. Research focused on the importance of play in children’s cognitive, linguistic, physical, moral, creative, emotional and artistic development exists. Couched in Vygotsky’s social development theory and the Reggio Emilia principle this ethnographic case study investigates how kindergarteners demonstrate literacy learning, practice and mastery of Common Core ELA standards (CC.ELA) through imaginative play in a negotiated environment. Research outcomes suggested that negotiated play appears to provide a recursive teaching practice and mindset whereby children learn, practice and demonstrate understanding of CC.ELA standards through imaginative play in the official, unofficial and imagined spaces of a classroom, rich with literacy learning opportunities.

Keywords: imaginative play, Common Core, literacy learning, Vygotsky, kindergarten, early literacy