Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development


With the integration of an increased literacy and math based curriculum for young children, it is important to keep students engaged while maintaining efficient and effective instruction. As a proven practice, play-based education allows a focused classroom that effectively educates children in literacy. This thesis project examines the effects of theme-based play centers on classroom literacy as well as suggested methods in lesson planning, engagement, and success. The literature review considers previous research regarding integrated theme-based play centers which suggests improved emotional, social, linguistic, and cognitive abilities in students. The research project used observation and qualitative research to focus on interactions of children with adults and peers through reflection on the different themes each week. The results conclude that a consistent weekly theme allows students to focus and recall previously learned information and attributes the success to the use of props and fiction, nonfiction and poetry books integrated within the theme, and the implementation of interactive read-alouds, which allowed for interaction among peers and literacy improvements. Recommendations for further research include: further exploration of theme-based curriculum, investigation of dramatic play center practices to foster interaction among children, and implementation of this instructional technique to create learning and development within this new curriculum style.


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