by MEREDITH GARY Co-director, Downtown Little School (Review 2009)

Children under five do not understand the difference between real and pretend. This is hard for adults to imagine, especially because children this age do know how to pretend; they can “feed” a baby doll, they can pretend a row of chairs is a “train.” However, when children do these pretend things, the games feel real. If you, with a straight face, tell a young child that the “train” he is sitting on is on fire, he may be genuinely afraid.