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.
Bibliographical notePlease note Gemma Pearce was working at the University of Birmingham at the time of publication.
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: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03004430.2010.529906 .
- primary school
- break time
Pearce, G., & Bailey, R. P. (2011). Football pitches and Barbie dolls: young children’s perceptions of their school playground. Early Child Development and Care, 181(10), 1361-1379. https://doi.org/10.1080/03004430.2010.529906