Children develop the ability to pretend at a very young age. In the dramatic play center children learn to assign and take roles from each other. The dramatic play area is constantly changing to reflect the environment in which the children live. It may be a doctor's office, a fast food establishment, an airport, a grocery store, or many other places that children see in their world. The ability to symbolize (one thing stands for another) which is used throughout this kind of play, is critical to all the other cognitive skills children will develop (letters stand for sounds).
When we play in the dramatic play center, we are learning:
linking play sequences
direction following and direction giving
early leadership roles
how to focus attention for longer periods
how reading and writing are used