Dramatic play is recognised as an important source of learning and development for preschool
children, yet there are increasing reports that the quality of dramatic play is declining. This paper aims
to report on the findings of a mixed method study that examined the constructs of Australian
preschool children’s dramatic play behaviour. Video observations and the Smilansky Scale for the
Evaluation of Dramatic and Socio-Dramatic Play (Smilanksy & Shefatya, 1990) were used with 101
preschool children aged 4 to 6 years in selected early childhood educational settings in Melbourne,
Australia. Findings reveal that the overall level of children’s dramatic play behaviour was low. A
typology of four play styles will be presented. Implications on educators’ pedagogy are discussed.