The outdoor environment in Norwegian kindergartens as pedagogical space for toddlers' play, learning and development
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionEuropean Early Childhood Education Research Journal. 2010, 18 (4), 457-471. 10.1080/1350293X.2010.525931
This study examines some characteristics of the outdoor environment in Norwegian kindergartens. Understood as pedagogical space, outdoor conditions may enhance or restrict the youngest children's possibilities for play, learning and development. In 117 of 133 kindergartens (response rate: 87 %) participating in a longitudinal study, the heads of the institution and the pedagogical leaders in these institutions have completed questionnaires. The questionnaires for head teachers and pedagogical leaders covered a wide range of characteristics of the institutions, including outdoor space and organization of time, everyday life and physical environment. The findings indicate that Norwegian children spend a significant amount of time in Kindergarten outdoors, 70% and 31% in summer and winter semester respectively. Norwegian children also have large outdoor areas in their institutions; the average size is 2600 square meters (approx. 47 m2 pr. child). Above 80% of the head teachers agree that the outdoor area has secret places where children can play undisturbed. Norwegian children get some opportunities to independently organize their play by making equipment and toys available without assistance from staff.