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Engaging children in activities beyond the classroom walls: a social–ecological exploration of Australian primary school children's enjoyment of school play activities

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As children spend a significant amount of time in schools, it is vital that playwork practitioners develop an improved awareness relating to the influences on children's enjoyment of school play activities. The purpose of the present study was to assess children's enjoyment of school play activities beyond the classroom walls, including the type of play activities children enjoy and age- and gender-specific enjoyment levels. Within the study, the Lunchtime Enjoyment of Activity and Play (LEAP) questionnaire was administered to 281 children aged 8–12-years-old attending three primary schools in regional Victoria, Australia. The LEAP questionnaire was used to measure Australian primary school children's enjoyment of school play activities. In order for age- and gender-specific comparisons to be made for the LEAP questionnaire items, a chi-square statistical test was conducted. The findings revealed that females had a significantly higher enjoyment compared to males for a range of school play activities including walking, using imagination, creating and making things, climbing, hiding, sliding, sitting, resting/relaxing, being active, tag games, changing play activity and playing with more natural features. Males had a significantly higher enjoyment compared to females for playing when it's hot and using sports equipment. Younger children had significantly higher enjoyment for using imagination, creating and making things, hiding, playing inside and changing play location. With understandings of the types of school play activities that are most enjoyable to children during school play, educators, playwork practitioners and school decision makers can employ the social–ecological model insight gained within the current study to guide future school-based planning and design.
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Keywords: PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; PLAYGROUNDS; PLAYWORK PRACTICE; PRIMARY SCHOOL; RECESS

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Email: [email protected] 2: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 November 2015

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Playwork Practice aims to advance playwork research and practice by providing the first ever interdisciplinary platform for the publication and dissemination of scholarship relevant to playwork practice. The Journal of Playwork Practice bridges the playwork theory-practice divide by facilitating practitioner access to research relevant to their practice, and enables researchers interested in 'playwork' to access a hitherto inaccessible field of practice and its literature.

    The Journal of Playwork Practice was published by Policy Press from 2014 to 2017, and will return with its new publisher as the International Journal of Playwork Practice in 2019. Further information is available at: http://www.commonthreads.org.uk/jpp.html.

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