Effects of group theraplay on social skills and problem behaviors of preschoolers in classroom environment
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Theraplay is a structured and attachment based play therapy method that helps children to improve self-esteem and trust in others. Group Theraplay is an extended version of Theraplay used in group settings that aims to increase the sense of connection and belonging among group members via using structured group games with its unique therapeutic rules. The method can be used in different group formats like classrooms and clinical settings. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of Group Theraplay play therapy method on the social skills, social interaction skills, social cooperation skills, and problem behaviors of preschool children in their classroom environment. A static group pre-test post-test control group design was used in this experimental study. The participants were 60 to 72 month-old preschool children from a private kindergarten in Ankara. A total of 28 children, 14 of whom formed the control group and 14 of whom formed the experimental group, participated in v the study. The Group Theraplay sessions were implemented with the experimental group for 8 weeks while the control group continued their routine educational program. The data was collected through using Preschool and Kindergarten Behaviors Scale (PKBS-2) as pre-test and post-test. The results were analyzed by using Mann-Whitney U Test and Wilcoxon-Signed Test. The results of the study revealed that there was a significant difference on the scores of problem behaviors, social skills and social cooperation skills of children. On the other hand, the social interaction skill scores were nonsignificant.