Research Proposals



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1.1          Background to the Study

The importance of social and emotional development in primary schools pupils cannot be overemphasized, because young children’s health depends on it (Ho & Funk, 2018). When students have developed their social and emotional skills, they foster positive relationships, deal with positive and negative events more constructively, and continue to build a foundation needed for the rest of their life (Ho & Funk, 2018).

Moreover, building social and emotional development skills should be the core of any early childhood environment (Ho & Funk, 2018). Children who have not developed their social and emotional skills have shown more difficulties following directions, participating in developmentally age-appropriate activities, and maintaining healthy self-esteem compared to children who have a more positive social and emotional development (Ho & Funk, 2018).


Piaget (1962) feels that play has a primary role in the child’s development; he placed emphasis on play as a factor in the child’s responses to the social development. More specifically, play interactions helped children understand that other players have perspectives different than their own. Play, for Piaget, provides children with opportunities to develop social competence through ongoing interactions.

Specifically, there are many parts in the development of social-emotional skills. Pyle et al. (2017) breaks down the parts of social-emotional development into competencies that include cooperative skills, social interactions, self-capability skills, and positive peer relationships.


Furthermore, in a study by Kirk and MacCallum (2017), one early childhood teacher was observed and interviewed on the strategies she implemented to support her students’ development of social and emotional skills.

The findings show that the classroom environment plays a significant role in young children’s development and learning. When teachers intentionally create positive relationships with their students, they grow academically and develop socially and emotionally because they feel safe and welcomed in their learning environment (Ho & Funk, 2018; Kirk & MacCallum, 2017).


Emphatically, play is so important to optimal child’s social and emotional development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (2016) as a right of every child. This birth right is threatened by forces including child labour and exploitation practices, war and neighborhood violence and limited resources available to children living in poverty. The play instructional strategy and socio-emotional skills development in pupils.

However, even these children who are fortunate enough to have abundant available resources and who live in relative peace may not be receiving the full benefits of play.


In addition, since every child deserves the opportunity to develop to their unique potential, child caregivers should consider all factors that interfere with optimal development and press for circumstances that allow each child to fully reap the advantages associated with play (Bell &Wolfe, 2014).

Furthermore, undirected play allows children to learn how to work in groups, share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, and learn self-advocacy skills. When play is allowed to be child-driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue. Burdette & Whitaker (2015) observes that play is a simple joy that is a cherished part of  childhood.


Children’s trajectory is critically mediated by appropriate, effective relationships with loving and consistent caregivers as they relate to children through play (Shonkoff &Phillips, 2023).When parents observe their children in play or join them in child-driven play, they are given a unique opportunity to see the World from their child’s vintage point as the child navigates a world perfectly created just to fit his/her needs.


1.2  Statement of the Problem

In Nigeria, the majority of schools host a large number of children such that the playing fields are overstretched. Most of these fields are open grounds with no facilities that these children can play with. Additionally, private pre-schools have been developed in residential  and rental houses, where these houses have been turned into classrooms, with little or no space for children to play.

Moreover, there are also cases where these pre-schools do not have play materials for children. In other cases too, majority of teachers do not accompany their children to play. Instead, children are left to play on their own without teachers or caregiver’s supervision. Due to pressure and rigidity of the curriculum, play time has been slashed down to enable syllabus coverage.

Worse still, a number of teachers are reportedly using the strategy of denying children time for play, in order to complete assignments, or as a way of punishment. They have forgotten the English saying that goes “all work without play makes Jack a dull boy” and it is not only John here who gets dull, but the entire class. These issues have raised a lot of concern to the researcher as to whether they have any impact on these children’s social and emotional development or not.

The recent report from head teachers, class teachers and parents of children in schools in Nigeria indicates that these children have been exhibiting increased learning difficulties, inability to solve simple problems associated with socialization and control of emotions, many cases of truancy, dropping out of school and aggressive behavior, compounded with total lack of interest towards learning.


Additionally, however hard the teachers try to keep these young ones in classes to concentrate on formal lessons, the little the progress posted, with many teachers and parents complaining that the children have increasingly become unable and unwilling to participate in challenging tasks. It is also evident that these children are always constantly fatigued and lack the agility and peer group popularity and have become over dependent. The play instructional strategy and socio-emotional skills development in pupils.

These children are also showing signs of not engaging in socially appropriate behavior. The issues enumerated have raised a lot of concerns to the researcher as to whether they have any effect on social and emotional development of skills in children or not.


1.3          Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study was to investigate the play instructional strategy and socio-emotional skills development in pupils in Uyo Local Government Area. Specifically, this study was guided by the following objectives:

  1. To determine whether the availability of play materials influence children’s social and emotional development.
  2. To investigate how time allocation for play in preschools affect social and emotional development of children.
  3. To establish whether the presence of the teacher in children’s play affects children’s social and emotional development.
  4. To investigate how different types of play promote social and emotional skills development.


1.4          Research Questions

The study was guided by the following research questions:

  1. How does availability of play materials influence children’s social and emotional development?
  2. In which way does time allocation for play in a preschool situation affect children’s social and emotional development?
  3. How does the presence of the teacher in the children’s play affect children’s social and emotional development?
  4. To what extent do different types of play affect children’s social and emotional development?


1.5          Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be important in different ways. First, the findings will be important to the curriculum developers in evaluating the curriculum and putting emphasis on children play together with allocating more time in the timetable for children to play. Early childhood education teachers will also benefit by understanding the different ways in which play influences children’s acquisition of social skills.

The school administrators will be able to identify the importance of child play hence provide adequate facilities for the same. Teachers will also benefit from this study as the findings will necessitate in-service courses to train them in different types of play that promote social skills. Non-governmental organizations, churches and the community also learnt their role in play, by providing for children’s playing materials in support of play to promote social skills among preschool children.



In conclusion, the availability of play materials significantly influenced the social skills and emotional development of children in pre-schools. This is because children need play materials to be motivated to take part in play which consequently improves social skills and emotional development. The researcher also concluded the amount of time allocated for play significantly influences social and emotional development of children in pre- schools. The more children played the better for their social and emotional development.

Thirdly the researcher concluded that the teachers’ presence during children’s’ play was very important as it influenced the children social skills and emotional development by providing guidance on difficulty pays as well as providing security.

The researcher finally concluded that the children who engaged in different types of play significantly improved their social skills and emotional development. This is because every play has a certain part it plays in the Social and Emotional development of a child and therefore the more the better.


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Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email:

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