Cross-cultural differences between preschoolers’ play and parental attitudes

Cross-cultural differences between preschoolers’ play and parental attitudes
Biruk Kebede Metaferia (Doctoral School of Psychology), Judit Futo (Institute of Psychology), and Zsófia Garai-Takács (Institute of Education) have published a paper in the journal Frontiers in Psychology investigating the cross-cultural variation in Ethiopian and Hungarian parents’ views on play and the goals of early childhood education in relation to preschoolers’ home activities and executive functions (EFs).

The findings of this cross-cultural investigation showed that Ethiopian parents view fostering academic skills of preschoolers significantly more important than their Hungarian counterparts do. In the same vein, while Ethiopian parents hold the belief that academic and cognitive development is the major purpose of preschool education, Hungarian parents ranked social-emotional development and entertainment foremost instead. They found no significant cross-cultural differences in children’s EF skills (working memory, inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility).

Furthermore, results also showed that parental play support attitude and children’s frequency of pretend play were important home experiences of preschoolers associated with better inhibitory control skills in both samples. Frequency of having breakfast at home was an additional valuable factor associated with children’s inhibitory control in the Ethiopian sample. On the other hand, parental play support was an important element associated with preschoolers' shifting skills in the Hungarian sample. Moreover, children’s frequency of participation in arts and crafts and other fine motor activities at their home were found to be associated with better visual–spatial working memory in Ethiopian and Hungarian children respectively.

The paper can be accessed at: