About ellenbeate

This is a blog for Ellen Beate. I am Professor at Queen Maud University College of Early Childhood Education in Trondheim, Norway. The aim of this blog is to share some of my research on children's risky play and well-being in ECEC, and any other research project or theme that I happen to be engaged in! Feel free to contact me on: ebs@dmmh.no

Harassment in ECEC institutions: 4- to 6-year-old children’s experiences

New article on the data from the ECEC Well-Being Monitor!

Abstract: There are limited studies involving preschool children and phenomena such as harassment, bullying, exclusion and rejection. This study explores the relations between 4- to 6-year-old children’s experiences of being frequently harassed in Norwegian Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) institutions, their overall feeling of subjective well-being and their social relationship experiences with staff and peers. The study also investigates whether there are significant differences between frequently harassed children’s experiences of well-being and social relations compared to other children’s experiences. The data reported in this study are collected through the Norwegian ECEC Well-being Monitor, an online, free of charge, electronic questionnaire developed for ECEC institutions. A total of 3598 children are included in the study. The main findings show that, for a majority of indicators, children who are frequently harassed have significantly different experiences of subjective well-being and social relations with peers and staff, mostly more negative, than other children.

Fll text article can be found here: Seland, M., Moe, B., & Sandseter, E. B. H. (2021). Harassment in ECEC institutions: 4- to 6-year-old children’s experiences. Early Years, 1-16. doi:10.1080/09575146.2021.1958198

Ellen

Risk and Safety Management in Physical Education: Teachers’ Perceptions

My PhD-student, Lise Porsanger, and I have published a paper on Teachers’ perceptions of risk and safety management in the school subject physical education.

Abstract: Bodily movement is a central component in students’ educational experiences in school-based physical education (PE) programs. PE unavoidably involves physical risk. In some respects, the risk of play, sports and adventure is portrayed as necessary and healthy for children’s development. However, concerns about students’ safety and teachers’ liability might generate risk aversion among teachers. This article explores teachers’ perceptions of risk and safety management (RSM) in PE. Designed as a mixed methods study, the data include an online survey questionnaire (n = 698) and semi-structured interviews (n = 17) among primary and lower secondary PE teachers in Norway. A majority of the survey respondents report that their students only experience minor injuries in their PE classes. The interview data coincide with these results and indicate that minor injuries are rather common. While the survey results show that teachers mostly perceive RSM to be important in PE, the interview data suggest that the teachers’ perceptions of risk are characterized by uncertainty, which restricts the teachers’ control by means of RSM. Teachers also accept risk for enhancing students’ educative experiences in PE. Consequently, this study contributes to the knowledge of the complexity of risk and teachers’ perceptions of RSM in PE.

Find the full text article here: Porsanger, L., & Sandseter, E. B. H. (2021). Risk and Safety Management in Physical Education: Teachers’ Perceptions. Education Sciences, 11(7), 321. https://www.mdpi.com/2227-7102/11/7/321

Ellen 🙂

Associations between Children’s Risky Play and ECEC Outdoor Play Spaces and Materials

New article from the EnCompetence published!

Abstract: Children spend a large amount of time each day in early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions, and the ECEC play environments are important for children’s play opportunities. This includes children’s opportunities to engage in risky play. This study examined the relationship between the outdoor play environment and the occurrence of children’s risky play in ECEC institutions. Children (n = 80) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 935 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second by second for several categories of risky play as well as where and with what materials the play occurred. Results revealed that risky play (all categories in total) was positively associated with fixed equipment for functional play, nature and other fixed structures, while analysis of play materials showed that risky play was positively associated with wheeled toys. The results can support practitioners in developing their outdoor areas to provide varied and exciting play opportunities.

You can find the article in full text, open access here:

Ellen 🙂

Risky Play and Children’s Well-Being, Involvement and Physical Activity

New article from the EnCompetence project published this week!

Sando, O.J., Kleppe, R. & Sandseter, E.B.H. Risky Play and Children’s Well-Being, Involvement and Physical Activity. Child Ind Res (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12187-021-09804-5

Abstract: Children’s activities and experiences in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) institutions are essential for children’s present and future lives. Playing is a vital activity in childhood, and playing is found to be positively related to a variety of outcomes among children. In this study, we investigated how risky play – a fundamentally voluntary form of play – related to children’s well-being, involvement and physical activity. Results from structured video observations (N = 928) during periods of free play in eight Norwegian ECEC institutions indicated that engagement in risky play was positively associated with children’s well-being, involvement and physical activity. The findings in this study suggest that one way to support children’s everyday experiences and positive outcomes for children in ECEC is to provide children with opportunities for risky play. Restrictions on children’s play behaviours following safety concerns must be balanced against the joy and possible future benefits of thrilling play experiences for children.

Ellen Beate

The relationship between indoor environments and children’s play – confined spaces and materials

From the EnCompetence project: Sandseter, E. B. H., Storli, S. & Sando, O. J. (2021) The relationship between indoor environments and children’s play – confined spaces and materials, Education 3-13, DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2020.1869798

Abstract: The provision of environments that support and afford play is fundamental for young children’s experiences, learning and development. Play environments of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) institutions are therefore of great importance for the opportunities provided children to create and engage in a wide range of play. This study examines the association between Norwegian ECEC institutions’ indoor environment (spaces and materials) and children’s engagement in different types of play. Children (3–6 years, N = 86) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 943 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second-by-second to register the type of play occurring, the space in which it occurred and the materials children used. The results show that the indoor environment in the participating ECEC institutions afforded predictable play types in what could be called confined spaces designed and furnished for certain kinds of play activities. The authors discuss how this helps practitioners maintain predictability and control of children’s play, while on the other hand, it restricts children’s play and freedom to bring their own initiatives, ideas and creativity into the play in unpredictable ways.

Enjoy! 🙂

Innendørs risikofylt lek – et bidrag til spenning og variasjon i barnehagens lekemiljøer

A Norwegian article about how to facilitate physical environments for indoor risky play.

https://jased.net/index.php/jased/article/view/2460

English title: Indoor risky play: Opportunities for excitement and variety in the ECEC play environments?

Abstract in English: Risky play is a form of play that can contribute to both children’s well-being and development, but there is a lack of research on the topic. In this study, we have investigated various aspects of risky play in the indoor environment of Early Childhood Education and Care settings (ECEC). The study is based on video observation of 65 children aged 3–5 years, from seven ECEC centers, during periods when the children were free to play as they wished. The video observations were conducted in two phases: Autumn 2017 (T1) and Autumn 2018 (T2), and the final data material consists of 770 video observations of 2 minutes each. Based on the observations in T1, an intervention was carried out to strengthen the existing physical play environments. The intervention was developed and implemented as a collaboration between the researchers and staff in the participating center. The effects of the intervention were observed in T2. The data material was analyzed with descriptive statistics and regression analyzes. The results show that children engaged in risky play indoors, especially with great heights and rough-and-tumble play, and that the risky play mainly took place in tumbling spaces and in cubbies. Results related to the intervention show that the ECEC centers that established an integrated tumbling space had an increase in risky play indoors. In addition, the results show that both girls, boys and children of different ages used the tumbling spaces for risky play after the intervention. Overall, this study demonstrates opportunities to create exciting and more varied play opportunities indoors in ECEC.

Kleppe, R., Sando, O. J., & Sandseter, E. B. H. (2020). Innendørs risikofylt lek – et bidrag til spenning og variasjon i barnehagens lekemiljøer . Journal for Research in Arts and Sports Education4(2). https://doi.org/10.23865/jased.v4.2460

How children utilize spaces and materials in outdoor play

A new article from the EnCompetence project:

Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter, Rune Storli & Ole Johan Sando (2020) The dynamic relationship between outdoor environments and children’s play, Education 3-13, online first: DOI: 10.1080/03004279.2020.1833063

Abstract: Play is a fundamental activity for experiences, learning and development among children in their early years. Early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions’ play environments, their features and design, are therefore of great importance for the opportunities provided for children to create and engage in a wide range of play. This study examines how children utilise features in the ECEC outdoor environment (spaces and materials) to engage in different types of play. Children (3–6 years, N = 86) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 935 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second by second to register the type of play occurring, the space in which it occurred and the materials children used. The results indicate a dynamic relationship between the outdoor environments and the play in which children engage and point out the complex nature of playground design, where planning for the predictable, and at the same time opening up for the unpredictable, is important.

Prevalence of risky play

For all who are interested in how much children engage in risky play, we have recently published and article where we look at this.

Sandseter, E.B.H., Kleppe, R. & Sando, O.J. The Prevalence of Risky Play in Young Children’s Indoor and Outdoor Free Play. Early Childhood Education Journal, online first: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-020-01074-0

Abstact: Research on children’s risky play and young children’s risk taking is a relatively new research area that has drawn the attention of many researchers in the last decades. Nevertheless, to our knowledge, no earlier studies have measured the prevalence of risky play when children can freely choose what to play, with whom, and where. Most research on risky play has also exclusively focused on outdoor play. This study aims at examining the occurrence and characteristics of children’s risky play, indoors and outdoors, in early childhood education and care (ECEC) institutions. Children (N = 80) were observed in two-minute sequences during periods of the day when they were free to choose what to do. The data consists of 1878 randomly recorded two-minute videos, which were coded second by second for the occurrence of several categories of risky play. Results revealed that risky play was registered in 10.3% of the total data material. The data is further analysed to explore distribution among different types of risky play, as well as differences between gender, age and environment (indoors vs. outdoors).

Barriers for Outdoor Play in ECEC

Earlier this fall some colleagues and I published an article on barriers for outdoor play in ECEC in five different European countries. You can find the article here (click):

Sandseter, E. B. H., Cordovil, R., Hagen, T. L., & Lopes, F. (2019). Barriers for Outdoor Play in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Institutions: Perception of Risk in Children’s Play among European Parents and ECEC Practitioners. Child Care in Practice, 1-19. doi: 10.1080/13575279.2019.1685461

Abstract

Risk aversive perceptions and practices among ECEC practitioners and parents have proven to be an important reason for the decline of young children’s opportunities for free outdoor play. Yet, there are also cultural differences in the perception of children’s risky play. This study aims at examining the factors that ECEC practitioners and parents experience as barriers for children’s outdoor play, especially those associated with risk. ECEC practitioners and parents in five different European countries (Greece, Portugal, Estonia, Croatia and Norway) received questionnaires about their perception of children’s outdoor play. The sample consists of 32 ECEC practitioners and 184 parents. Results show that parents and ECEC practitioners from Norway are less risk aversive to children’s play than those from the southern European countries. Traffic is a barrier for outdoor play among parents from all countries (above 50%), and stranger danger is particularly noticed in parents from Greece (80.6%) and Portugal (62.9%), whereas in Norway this value is only 13.3%. The mean average age from which parents allow their children to play outside is quite different between the participating countries, ranging from 5.8 years in Norway to 11.8 years in Greece. In total, fear of children getting injured and adults’ own concern/anxiety are only mentioned as barriers by 9.4% and 3.1% of ECEC practitioners, respectively. Lack of play spaces (74.3%) and poor play facilities (80%) are also considered obstacles to letting children play outside by Greek parents, whereas Portuguese ones emphasized media alerts (61.3%). Our results suggest a differentiated approach between countries to tackle the reported barriers to children’s outdoor risky play.

The article is part of the MLO-project