Football pitches and Barbie dolls: young children’s perceptions of their school playground

Gemma Pearce, R.P. Bailey

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    26 Citations (Scopus)
    152 Downloads (Pure)


    Playgrounds and play times offer valuable contexts for children to explore and learn about themselves and their social lives. This study sought to gather evidence of children’s perceptions of their playgrounds and play times, specifically whether the playgrounds were seen positively or negatively and the types of activities in which they engaged. Child-oriented methods were adopted inspired by the Mosaic approach. The main themes from the focus group interviews were social play (friendship, loneliness/solitude and fair play); physical activity play (activities and rationale); risk (injuries and bullying); and gender (action/stillness and gendered roles). Research suggests that segregation declines when adult supervision supports shared play, and our experiences suggest that such intervention is the most likely solution to the ‘problem’ of gender play in this setting.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1361-1379
    JournalEarly Child Development and Care
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Bibliographical note

    This is an electronic version of an article published in Early Child Development and Care, 181 (10), pp. 1361-1379. Early Child Development and Care is available online at: .


    • primary school
    • children
    • play
    • break time
    • gender
    • football


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