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From boats to bushes: environmental elements supportive of children’s sociodramatic play outdoors

journal contribution
posted on 2020-03-03, 00:00 authored by Natalie RobertsonNatalie Robertson, Anne-Marie MorrisseyAnne-Marie Morrissey, Deb Moore
Sociodramatic play is a central activity of early childhood, one influenced by the nature of the environment where it occurs. Using the Smilansky Scale for the Evaluation of Dramatic and Socio Dramatic Play (Smilansky and Shefatya, 1990), this study compared the frequency and complexity of the sociodramatic play of two groups of fifteen 4–5 year old children in two preschool outdoor spaces differing in natural elements, resources, and spatial characteristics. Field notes and behaviour mapping were also employed to explore potential associations between the play characteristics, and specific elements and areas of the two spaces. Findings showed the following elements supported more frequent and complex sociodramatic play: a balanced conjunction of man-made resources and significant vegetation and natural loose parts; opportunities for seclusion and lack of overcrowding; linking pathways and open-ended design. The findings have implications for the design of outdoor spaces that support the frequency and complexity of children’s sociodramatic play.

History

Journal

Children's geographies

Volume

18

Issue

2

Pagination

234 - 246

Publisher

Taylor & Francis

Location

Abingdon, Eng.

ISSN

1473-3285

eISSN

1473-3277

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2019, Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group