Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 72555
Outdoor Risky Play Perspectives of Parents and Teachers in Children Four to Five Years

Authors: Lorette Pretorius


In the past, children had the freedom to play freely/spontaneously in the streets, whereas today, it is too dangerous to allow small children to do that due to safety. Also, an overprotective community contributes to the challenge. This is a dilemma that parents and teachers face; however, it is imperative for parents and teachers to empower children to engage in risky outdoor play for them to acquire confidence, self-esteem, autonomy, independence, problem-solving, and risk management abilities. To understand the status of risky outdoor play in a South African context, the study aimed to examine whether risky outdoor play is supported and implemented or restricted by parents and teachers and for what reasons. Barbara Rogoff's sociocultural theory, which emphasises how children cultivate knowledge by interacting with their social environment, served as the foundation for this research. The three planes of analysis which are 1) apprenticeship, 2) guided participation, and 3) participatory appropriation, are based on the opinions of parents and teachers, as well as children's participation in risky play activities. In an attempt to understand parents and teachers’ perspectives of risky play, it became clear that both had different but also very similar opinions of children’s risky play. Therefore, children’s participation in culturally risky play activities is highly reliant on parents and teachers’ perspectives. This study employed a qualitative approach and is positioned within the interpretivist paradigm. A multiple case study design was utilised to explore eight preschool teachers and seven parents from three different ELCs perspectives of risky play. Data were generated from teachers using semi-structured group interviews, observations of teachers and children during outdoor play, and document analysis entailing teachers’ daily planning of outdoor activities. Online semi-structured individual interview schedules were utilised to generate data from parents. This study used thematic analysis as an instrument to analyse the generated data inductively. The research identified themes, and results confirm that risky play is important for children's development, according to both parents and teachers. Despite the fact that parents in this study expressed concern for children's safety and teachers expressed a lack of parental support, the data indicated that both teachers and parents permit and encourage risky play in ELCs and at home. It will be beneficial for Early Childhood Education (ECE) and children’s development if teachers are professionally educated and parents are made aware of the importance and advantages of risky play for children’s early learning and development.

Keywords: child/children, parents, perspectives, risky play, teachers

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