Preschool teachers' beliefs and practices of outdoor play and outdoor environments

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Swetha Chakravarthi (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Linda Hestenes

Abstract: The current study examined preschool teachers' beliefs and practices during children's play in high and low quality outdoor environments in child care centers. Children's physical activity was measured using accelerometers. Videotapes of children and teachers during outdoor play were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively to understand teachers' practices and children's play behaviors. Additionally, teachers were interviewed to understand their beliefs of children's outdoor play and outdoor environment. Quantitative results indicated that children's activity levels were higher when teacher's activity levels were higher, and children engaged in higher levels of play when teachers showed high involvement during outdoor play. Qualitative results revealed that teachers considered outdoor settings as important in facilitating children's physical development, social development, and learning about nature, and believed their role was to supervise children, help them find a direction in play, and interact with them during outdoor play. Teachers' practices ranged from monitoring children to facilitating their play, but they rarely participated in play with children. Overall, teachers' beliefs and practices, and children activity levels and play differed by high and low quality outdoor settings. Policy implications for teacher preparation programs, importance of the outdoor classrooms and future research are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Outdoor environment quality, Outdoor play, Physical activity, Preschool, Teacher beliefs, Teacher practices
Preschool children $x Exercise.
Preschool teachers $x Attitudes.
Preschool children $x Recreation.
Teacher effectiveness.

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