Serena Wieder, PhD
Play provides the essential pathway to symbolic development through its opportunities to create ideas, step into different roles,negotiate with others and develop empathy and theory of mind. Through play children experiment, discover, move from magical thinking to reality, practice what they are learning and become reflective and abstract thinkers. When we play with our children we open a window into the child’s emotional experiences and provide the security to explore and embrace the full range of feelings safely. This presentation cover how children climb the symbolic ladder through pretend play, drama and the arts as they expand their emotional range and manage anxiety and self-regulation. This requires the integration of auditory/language and visual spatial knowledge to sequence emotional ideas and actions. Every child can play and be helped to advance symbolically even when challenges and uneven development get in the way.