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Title:Bugs, boundaries, and butt cracks: A study of children’s play
Author(s):Battor, Maria Zoey
Advisor(s):Dyson, Anne H
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Adventure play
Abstract:During World War II, kids in England began building their own playgrounds on bombed out properties. The idea spread across Europe as grownups caught on, allocating empty lots with raw materials for kids to play in, referring to these as “Adventure Playgrounds.” I completed this ethnographic study of child culture at one of the few Adventure Playgrounds in the United States. I observed 44 children and three playworkers for 103 hours across three weeks of camp, seeking to answer the question, “What do children do when no one is telling them what to do?” I found that many of the children at my site interacted empathetically with bugs; that they largely showed an understanding of respecting each other’s bodies and boundaries; that the impact of the supervising adults on children’s experience is significant; and that, when allowed the opportunity, children tend to spend some of their playtime on taboo topics. Implications of my findings include that grownups need to understand that, as children play, they are doing intense, complex work. Educators, especially, would do well to understand and build on what children are making instead of erasing children’s untrained beginnings when teaching a new concept.
Issue Date:2019-07-16
Rights Information:This work copyright Maria Z. Battor, 2019.
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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