Early Childhood Educators' Perceptions of Play and Inquiry on a Nature Playscape

Date: 
Friday, January 29, 2021
Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed article | Research Products
Environment Type: 
Public Programs, Park, Outdoor, and Garden Programs, Informal/Formal Connections, Pre-K/Early Childhood Programs
Audience: 
Pre-K Children (0-5) | Educators/Teachers | Learning Researchers
Discipline: 
Education and learning science | General STEM
Access and Inclusion: 
Urban
Organization:
University of CIncinnati
Description: 

Play serves an important function in early childhood, and more specifically, play in nature provides an optimal venue for holistic development. Teachers play a critical role in providing and protecting these experiences for young children. This study aimed to understand and make more explicit the perceived benefits of a nature playscape from the perspective of teachers. Participants in this phenomenological study were preschool teachers at an urban Midwestern university early childhood laboratory school (n=13). Surveys and interviews were used to answer the central research question: What benefits do early childhood educators attribute to experiences in an urban nature playscape for children and teachers who regularly access this environment? Findings suggest that both children and teachers demonstrated more relaxed behaviors in the playscape than the classroom, that children's holistic development was supported within the playscape environment, and that the playscape affordances fostered freedom and autonomy that sparked meaningful play and inquiry.

Funder(s): 
NSF
Funding Program: 
AISL
Award Number: 
1516191
Funding Amount: 
$1,635,115
Citation
DOI:
10.7721/chilyoutenvi.28.2.0082
Publication Name: 
Children, Youth & Environments
Volume: 
28
Number: 
2
Page Number: 
82-101

Team Members

Sue SchlembachSue SchlembachAuthor
Leslie KochanowskiLeslie KochanowskiAuthor
Rhonda BrownRhonda BrownAuthor

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