Examining the Quality of Outdoor Play in Chinese Kindergartens

Hu, B. Y., Li, K., De Marco, A., & Chen, Y.

From the abstract: "The benefits of outdoor play for children’s well-rounded development are maximized when children experience enjoyment and, at the same time, gain physical, motor, cognitive, and social-emotional competence. This study examined the quality of outdoor play in Chinese kindergartens, the dominant form of full-day early childhood education program serving children aged from 3 to 6 years in China. The Outdoor Play Rating Scale was used to study the quality of the provision for children’s outdoor play. A total of 174 classrooms from 91 kindergartens in Zhejiang Province were included in the study. A stratified random sampling procedure was used to select kindergartens and classrooms. Results indicated that there was inadequate opportunity for outdoor play, including free play, as well as low level of physical activity by children. We found significant differences in quality of outdoor play across kindergartens in different locations (urban/non-urban areas). Recommendations were provided to practitioners in the discussion that primarily emphasized addressing the need to increase opportunities for children’s access to a wide range of outdoor activities and to improve teachers’ professional competencies in organizing quality outdoor activities for children. Implications for policymakers include the need to narrow the gap in the quality of outdoor environments in kindergartens so that children’s play is supported in ways that will enhance children’s early development and learning."

Citation: Hu, B. Y., Li, K., De Marco, A., & Chen, Y. (2015). Examining the quality of outdoor play in Chinese kindergartens. International Journal of Early Childhood, 47, 53-77.
DOI: 10.1007/s13158-014-0114-9