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Title:Young Children's Social, Language and Motor Behaviors on Playgrounds: The Influence of Design, Age, and Sex
Author(s):Brown, James Granville
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Early Childhood
Abstract:In recent years there has been an increased interest in the design of children's play environments, especially outdoor playgrounds. Products of this interest have been criticisms of existing "traditional" playgrounds, as well as suggestions for the design of alternative playgrounds. Despite the interest, there seems to be a limited amount of systematic study which has examined the manner in which outdoor playgrounds provided for young children influence their behaviors. This study sought to characterize the behaviors of young children on playgrounds. The research question addressed was: to what extent are preschool-aged children's social, language, and motor behaviors influenced by the design of their playground, their age, or their sex?
Sixty-nine three- and four-year old preschoolers from six different sites were observed during their outdoor free play periods. The subjects' behaviors were coded, using a time sampling method of data collection, in two social, one language, and four motor categories. The primary variable, the extent to which a playground reflects contemporary design suggestions, was assessed by using the Outdoor Educational Environment Rating Scale, a 19-item instrument specifically designed for this study. The six sites in this study were divided into two groups (higher and lower) according to the ratings they received on this measure. Age (3 1/2 and 4 1/2 years) and sex also served as independent variables. Analysis of variance procedures were used to compare the scores derived from the time sample observations of subjects on the playgrounds.
Results indicated that there were no differences in the social, language, or motor behaviors of the children on the three higher rated sites, as a group, compared to the three lower rated sites, as a group. There were also no age differences. Male children exhibited more locomotor behavior and more negative social behavior. Female children exhibited more balance behavior. Further analysis of variance procedures yielded differences in the amount of behaviors when individual playgrounds were analyzed. Children's preferences for equipment were also noted.
Issue Date:1982
Description:187 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8218438
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1982

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