The number of children in classrooms is constantly increasing, causing shy children to become more invisible in the classroom. Thompson&Rudolph (2000: 542) indicate that shyness and withdrawal are attempts to avoid participation in one’s surroundings. The researcher is of the opinion that if shyness is not adequately addressed during middle childhood, it can continue to limit the potential of shy people. Shyness is not generally considered as problematic behaviour for children in their middle childhood. Shyness inhibits children to express themselves. They rarely participate in class and usually hold an irrational negative view of themselves. There is a need for shy children to be able to express themselves, in order to gain optimally from the school setting. Play therapy is based on developmental principles and thus provides, through play, developmentally appropriate means of expression and communication (Landreth&Bratton, 1999:5). Group therapy complements the normal developmental tasks that further children’s capacities for social interaction and intimacy. The researcher conducted intervention research. Many facets of intervention research are both qualitative and quantitative in nature, depending on the distinctive elements of the particular research project (De Vos, 2002a:368). Due to both the qualitative and quantitative nature of intervention research, the researcher employed Creswell’s dominant-less-dominant model in order to accommodate both research approaches. The goal of this study was to explore the impact of group play therapy on the social skills of shy children in their middle childhood. The researcher conducted a one-group pretest-posttest design in order to measure “shyness” as well as social skills before and after intervention. Seeing that the quantitative paradigm answered the research question of this research project, it was utilized as the dominant approach. Through comparing the pre-test and post-test scores, the researcher realized that group play therapy has a positive impact on the social skills of shy children. The unstructured observation provided the researcher with a better insight into the phenomena of shyness, and represented the qualitative approach. By combining the two research approaches, the researcher was able to achieve the outlined goal and objectives of this study. Further research into effective implementation of group play therapy to address shyness in the middle childhood years is recommended.
Dissertation (MSD (Play Therapy))--University of Pretoria, 2005.