ECEC practitioners’ perceptions of children’s risky play

As a follow up on my PhD project I wanted to explore early childhood education and care (ECEC) practitioners’ perceptions of children’s risky play. Most of the time, play happens under adult supervision, therefore regulating what children are allowed to do and where they are allowed to go are often decided by adults, so also in early childhood and care (ECEC) settings. In this sense, adults are contributing to child safety, and, at the same time, they represent the biggest constraint on the child’s ability to encounter risks and challenges that are ultimately beneficial for development.

This project and its results are based on interviews with ECEC parcttitioners and a questionnaire filled out by 116 ECEC practitioners.

The interviews were semi-structured and explored themes such as aspects of outdoor play opportunities and pedagogy, including perceptions and experiences with respect to children’s risk-taking in play, injuries and safety, and their teaching practices with a particular focus on risky play. These intervews were also used in a comparative study with similar interviews of Australian ECEC practitioners.

The questionnaire included general questions about children’s risk-taking behaviours, included a scale developed to assess the practitioners’ attitudes toward children’s risky play, and a translated Norwegian version of the NEO-PI-R personality inventory (Costa & McCrae, 1985) to score the practitioners’ sensation seeking personality.

The projects’ results can be found in the following publications:

Sandseter, E. B. H. (2012). Restrictive safety or unsafe freedom? Norwegian ECEC practitioners’ perceptions and practices concerning children’s risky play. Childcare in Practice, 18(1), 83-101.

Sandseter, E.B.H, Wyver, S. & Little, H. (2012). Does theory and pedagogy have an impact on provisions for outdoor learning? A comparison of approaches in Australia and Norway. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 12(3), 167-182.

Little, H., Sandseter, E. B. H., & Wyver, S. (2012). Early childhood teachers’ beliefs about children’s risky play in Australia and Norway. Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, 13(4), 300-316.

Sandseter, E. B. H. (2013). Early childhood Education and care practitioners’ perceptions of children’s risky play; examining the influence of personality and gender. Early Child Development and Care, 184(3), 434-449.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s