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Title: Risk-taking play in the early years : the experience of four year olds
Author: Hilton, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 3935
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2011
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This research explored risk-taking play opportunities for four year olds in Early Years settings through observing play and eliciting child and staff views of the issue. Previous research has suggested that young children enjoy taking risks in their play and that this type of play offers many benefits (Stephenson, 1999; Gill, 2007). The original contribution of this research relates to a greater understanding of risk-taking play in the Early Years, as no previous research has been published in this area in this country. The research was undertaken from a Social Constructionist perspective. The sample consisted of eight children and four staff members from four different Early Years settings in one Local Authority. All eight children included in the sample were aged four at the time of the data collection. Naturalistic observation was used and each child was observed on three separate occasions. Semistructured interviews were used with children and staff and a series of photographs depicting different types of play provided a visual stimulus. Each data set was subjected to individual thematic analysis which used an inductive and deductive approach. Research outside the UK identified categories of risktaking play and these were used as a starting point for the current research (Sandseter, 2007). The research findings showed that children engaged in a range of risk-taking play and their responses to risk varied. The presence of other people had an impact on their risk-taking play and the children demonstrated an awareness of the need for safety. Interviews with the children revealed different reasons for enjoying risktaking play. The children demonstrated an awareness of safety and placed certain boundaries around whether, where and how they might engage in a risktaking play activity. Staff interviews also revealed that safety was a key consideration, both in terms of keeping the children safe and also teaching them how to keep themselves safe. Factors which staff viewed as limiting and facilitating risk-taking play were identified and the role of the staff was viewed alongside the impact of individual staff views and interpretations of risk. The researcher considered these findings in relation to a behavioural framework and this was incorporated into a set of recommendations for good practice with regard
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available