Child Wellbeing/Health and Outdoor Space Design (05-18-20)

Sando and Sandseter evaluated how the design of outdoor spaces at early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions influences children’s (3-4 year old’s) wellbeing (feeling at ease and self-confident, for example) and health (via physical activity). They collected data at 8 ECEC institutions ranging from “small urban environments with mainly asphalt and rubber surface to large (13 000 square meters) natural environments.”    The researchers report that “The importance of promoting a wide range of play activities is demonstrated by the finding that many episodes happened within a symbolic . . . and risky play context. . . . quantitative analysis identified fixed functional equipment and pathways as places that were positively associated with high well-being and physical activity. . . . The pathways could function as a running track, road for cars or a cycling track, depending on the play context and the child's intentions. . . episodes of high well-being and physical activity happen in a variety of places. Having access to different places, smaller and bigger, closed and open, natural and built environments seems to be beneficial. . . .objects are not a necessity for children to experience well-being in physically active play.”      

Ole Sando and Ellen Sandseter.  “Affordances for Physical Activity and Well-Being in the ECEC Outdoor Environment.” Journal of Environmental Psychology, in press, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101430