Tracy Gleason: Play Pals — Sparking Preschool Brilliance | Raising Parents #53

In this episode, host Dina Sargeant is joined by Tracy Gleason, an esteemed Professor of Psychology at Wellesley College

The preschool years mark a period of significant growth and exploration as children embark on a journey of self-discovery and understanding the world around them. Delve into the importance of nurturing these early stages and empowering children to delve into their inner thoughts and feelings.

Meet Tracy Gleason

Tracy Gleason, a Psychology Professor, is renowned for her expertise in developmental psychology and early childhood education. Having directed the Wellesley College Child Study Center, she now leads the Calderwood Program in Public Writing. Gleason, holding a PhD from the University of Minnesota, conducts research primarily on young children’s social relationships, with a specific emphasis on their interactions with imaginary companions.

Tracy also examines imaginary relationships across different life stages and studies real peer relationships among young children. At Wellesley, she teaches courses in psychology, research methods, and writing about psychology for non-experts, including a seminar on imagination.

About the episode

In this astounding episode of Raising Parents, Tracy Gleason discusses the evolution of the term “parenting” in the 1970s and its significance in contemporary society. She emphasizes the multifaceted role of parents in shaping children’s perceptions and fostering their development. Tracy acknowledges the enduring responsibility of parenthood and the ongoing process of learning and adaptation that accompanies it, particularly as individuals navigate the complexities of adulthood.

Tracy explains how engagement in a child’s play is crucial for their development. She suggests that parents should strive to actively participate by listening, watching, and occasionally suggesting new directions, which enriches the child’s play experience. However, she noted that the level of engagement may vary depending on the circumstances.

Tracy stresses the significance of unstructured play for nurturing children’s imagination and social skills. She highlights the diverse roles imaginary companions play in child development and the importance of parental involvement in supporting imaginative play. Tracy also encourages parents to minimize distractions during quality time with their children to foster meaningful interactions.

In conclusion

In this episode, Tracy Gleason explores imaginative play’s vital role in child development, highlighting its diverse functions in fostering emotional and social skills. She underscores the profound impact of imaginative exploration on nurturing creativity and problem-solving abilities in children. Tracy urges caregivers to prioritize quality interactions to support holistic development.

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