This study reports on children’s observed responses to natural features introduced in the redevelopment of a childcare centre garden. Using an action research approach, the redevelopment was based on the preferences of the director, staff and 18 three- to four-year-olds, as expressed through interviews, conversations, photographs and drawings. Adults and children overwhelmingly preferred natural elements. The kindergarten teacher and assistant observed children’s responses to the implementation of features including a teepee, mulch, greenery, flowers, and loose organic materials. In follow-up interviews, they reported positive child responses including: richer imaginative play; increased physical activity; calmer, more focused play; and positive social interactions. These findings provide further evidence of the importance of providing children with naturalized outdoor play spaces.
Field of Research
130102 Early Childhood Education (excl Maori) 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified