Izmir University of Economics (TURKEY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2022 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 266-273
ISBN: 978-84-09-45476-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2022.0108
Conference name: 15th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 7-9 November, 2022
Location: Seville, Spain
Outdoor play environments in which children spend a significant amount of time have a crucial role in their developmental process. Children have the ability to play in all kinds of places due to their ability to transform their environment into their own spaces with imagination and creativity. Moreover, their attitudes and play companion preferences may show variety depends on playground type. In general, playgrounds are classified as public and preschool ones, natural and traditional ones, gender-typed and gender-neutral ones. Outdoor play environments include different gender problems, especially the structured ones due to gender stereotypes in socio-cultural perspective. However, natural playgrounds offer gender-neutral play based on children’s social interactions in mix-group plays, minimum adult interferences and equal risk-taking opportunities. According to this perspective, in this study, the effects of playground design on children's attitudes, risk-taking patterns and peer preferences were examined comparatively in natural and traditional playgrounds through a collaborative design process with a design center in İzmir, Turkey. The behavioural mapping, observation checklists, and interviews were used as methodology; and the collected data were used for developing gender-neutral design guideline and design proposal. The findings of the study may provide guidance for play environments, the design of play equipment and gender-neutral playgrounds. This may provide equal play opportunities for the early childhood period by reducing negative behaviours and creating awareness on stereotypical gender norms. Moreover, the objective to collaborate with industry was to develop the industry's research base while also ensuring that the project benefits from sectoral experience by working with a local design company on the design of children's playgrounds. The findings can be beneficial for children, educators, and designers, and can be furthered through comparative studies and larger groups of participants, with the aim to provide quality outdoor play environments for children to acquire important values necessary for life-long learning.
Children, Child development, Play environments, Playground design, Natural playgrounds, Gender-neutral play, Biophilic design, Attitude/behaviors.