Date of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Science in Child Life Studies


Childhood Education and Family Studies

Committee Chair

Lindsey Murphy


The aim of this study was to research and gain a greater understanding of what child life students are learning about play. Qualitative data was collected via Qualtrics. Participants reported learning child-led play, structured play, and expressive play as learned approaches to play. Students reported the most learned purpose of play being self–expression, and normalization. Participants provided self-given definitions of the theories and concepts of play as the survey prompted in keeping with the researcher’s goals. The Daisy model in the communication theory Coordinated Management of Meaning provided the theoretical framework, supporting preparation or familiarization, express emotions, process, or cope, assess, educate, or teach, and alternative focus or distract as the most reported approaches to and purpose of play seen in participants’ self-definitions.


play, method, theory, Certified Child Life Specialist, child life

Subject Categories



© Taylor L. Brower

Open Access

Included in

Pediatrics Commons