This study examined the effects of increased opportunities for nature play and risky play in the outdoor environments of two childcare centres. Researchers used the ‘Seven Cs’ play space design criteria, and added natural materials.  They measured changes in play, social behaviour, psychological wellbeing, and physical activity in 45 children aged 2 to 5. Findings showed significant decreases in depressed affect, antisocial behaviour and moderate to vigorous physical activity, and increases in play with natural materials, independent play, and prosocial behaviours. Early Childhood Educators observed improved socialisation, problem-solving, focus, self-regulation, creativity and self-confidence. Educators also noted a reduction in children’s stress, boredom and injuries, concluding that outdoor play spaces are important for promoting children’s wellbeing and development.

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Year Level: Early Years

Subject Area: Risk

The Mclaren Vale township is home to Madge Sexton Kindergarten, one of the first five sites to be built as part of the Preschool Outdoor Learning Project, during 2014/15. Teachers and community liaison officers share how this has enriched their local area and enabled unexpected variations in their children’s’ play.

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Length: 10m : 05s