The Effect of Physical Play Experiences on Early Childhood Non-Cognitive Skills Development

Yuko Suzuki


This study aimed to verify the hypothesis that the acquisition of non-cognitive skills is affected by physical play experiences in early childhood. Research reports from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development state that the development of non-cognitive skills is affected by factors such as the quality of care and play experiences in early childhood. However, there is insufficient evidence regarding this hypothesis. To provide concrete evidence on how non-cognitive skills develop, this cross-sectional retrospective study was conducted. First, a questionnaire survey was conducted with university students and structural equation modeling was used to study the effect physical play experiences in early childhood had on non-cognitive skills in university, as represented by the Big Five personality traits. Second, to examine the perceived benefits of physical play experiences, participants were asked to write freely about their autobiographical memories of physical play experiences in early childhood. The narratives were visualized through co-occurring network analyses with text mining using KH Coder. The results showed a correlation between sufficiently rich physical play experiences in early childhood and the adult personality trait of attachment. Additionally, a correlation between personality traits and the quantity and quality of the subjective benefits of physical play experiences was observed. These findings imply the importance of physical play experiences during early childhood as the determinants of the development of non-cognitive skills.

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Journal of Education and Development  ISSN 2529-7996 (Print)  ISSN 2591-7250 (Online)

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