Promoting risk-taking and physically challenging play in Australian early childhood settings in a changing regulatory environment

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    Abstract

    This article presents data from a survey of Early Childhood Education and Care services in Australia. The study investigated outdoor play provision in terms of space, resources and planning for risk-taking in play. Overall, the results indicate that the participating centres are well-resourced to promote physical play, but vary in terms of opportunities for risk-taking in play. Although the majority of respondents believed their centres’ environments supported risk-taking in play, there were diverse perspectives among the teachers as to behaviours that constituted risky play. Regulatory restrictions relating to heights, arrangement of gross motor equipment and having insufficient space were also identified as factors limiting opportunities for challenging play. Furthermore, inconsistency in the way regulations were interpreted and applied arose as a key factor in the diversity of experiences reported by the respondents. The findings from this study have implications for pre- and in-service training for teachers in understanding how children’s risk-taking in outdoor play might be supported and managed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)83-98
    Number of pages16
    JournalJournal of Early Childhood Research
    Volume15
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

    Keywords

    • outdoor environments
    • pedagogy
    • play
    • risk-taking
    • teacher beliefs

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