Mildred Parten Newhall

← Back

Mildred Bernice Parten Newhall (1902 – May 26, 1970) was an American sociologist, a researcher at University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development.”1

She is best known for what became known as  Parten’s Stages Of Play.


According to Chris Drew at

Mildred Parten was born in 1902 in Minneapolis. She completed her doctoral dissertation on children’s play in the University of Minnesota in 1929. Within the dissertation, she proposed all 6 stages of play based on her observations of children. Her dissertation was titled: An Analysis of Social Participation, Leadership, and other Factors in Preschool Play Groups.

Her stages of play were again published in 1932 in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology. The article was titled: Social Participation among Preschool Children.

Parten subsequently did her post-doctorate at the London School of Economics then headed to the Yale Institute of Human Relations (1930 – 1936). Later, she moved on to a role as director of statistics for a consumer purchases study for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1936 – 1939). She spent the final years of her illustrious career at the University as Rochester as a survey consultant and research associate (1949-1956). She died in 1970 from a heart condition.

Chris Drew

Some of her works:

  • Parten, M. (1929). An analysis of social participation, leadership, and other factors in preschool play groups. Retrieved from:
  • Parten, M. (1932). Social participation among preschool children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27(3): 243–269. doi: 10.1037/h0074524.
  • Parten, M. (1933). Leadership among preschool children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 27(4): 430–440. doi: 10.1037/h0073032.
  • Parten, M. (1933). Social play among preschool children. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 28(2): 136–147. doi: 10.1037/h0073939.
  • Parten, M. & Newhall, S. (1943). Social behavior of preschool children. In Barker, R., Kounin, J. & Wright, H. (Eds.). Child behavior and development: A course of representative studies (pp. 509–525). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Have opinions and thoughts on this glossary entry? A tag suggestion? A word, phrase, website, or person we should add to the glossary? Find a typo, bad link, or miscategorized item? Share it all in the comments.

Help keep this glossary growing by becoming a patron or supporting Playvolution HQ in other ways.

Thanks To Our January 2021 Patreon Patrons

Stay updated!

Content Creator and Curator at

I'm an early learning speaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ and Explorations Early Learning.