Advertisement

Early Childhood Education Journal

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 265–273 | Cite as

Early Childhood Teachers’ Views and Teaching Practices in Outdoor Play with Young Children in Singapore

  • Marjory EbbeckEmail author
  • Hoi Yin Bonnie Yim
  • Sheela Warrier
Article

Abstract

A large amount of research has been conducted on play and in recent years the disappearance of play has been questioned (e.g., Brown in Kindergartners get little time to play. Why does it matter? 2016; Ebbeck and Waniganayake in Play in early childhood education: learning in diverse contexts, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, 2016). Researchers and practitioners alike have expressed serious concerns that academic pressures on the curriculum have reduced the amount of time given over to play (Nicolopoulou in Hum Dev 53:1–4, 2010). This paper raises some important issues in relation to outdoor play and presents a research study conducted in Singapore—a highly urbanised country. The research examined early childhood teachers’ views on the value of outdoor play and their teaching practices in outdoor play with young children. Findings showed that most teachers enjoyed conducting outdoor activities; however, they were concerned about the lack of physical and human resources. At a follow up sharing of the research results, teachers were able to suggest some ideas to cope with the challenges identified in the study findings. Implications are drawn for practitioners, education policymakers, and for town planners working in urbanised countries like Singapore.

Keywords

Outdoor Play Singapore Early childhood Young children 

References

  1. 1,000 additional infant-care places. (2017). The Straits Times, 21 Februrary.Google Scholar
  2. 12-year-olds in Singapore spend 6½ hours daily on electronic devices: Survey. (2017). The Straits Times, 2 April.Google Scholar
  3. Ashbullby, K. J., Pahla, S., Webleyc, P., & Whiteb, M. P. (2013). The beach as a setting for families’ health promotion: A qualitative study with parents and children living in coastal regions in Southwest England. Health & Place, 23, 138–147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Beach, M. (2011). The changing nature of play. Teach, Jan/Feb, 9–10.Google Scholar
  5. Bell, J., & Waters, S. (2014). Doing your research project: A guide for first-time researchers. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill Education.Google Scholar
  6. Branscombe, N. A. (2014). Early childhood curriculum: A constructivist perspective. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Brown, C. P. (2016). Kindergartners get little time to play. Why does it matter? Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://theconversation.com/kindergartners-get-little-time-to-play-why-does-it-matter-57093.
  8. Chen, X., & Eisenberg, N. (2012). Understanding cultural issues in child development: Introduction. Child Development Perspectives, 6(1), 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Christian, H., Rosenberg, M., Trost, S., Schipperijn, J., Maitland, C., Trapp, G., et al. (2018). A snapshot of the PLAYCE project: Findings from the Western Australian PLAY spaces and environments for children’s physical activity study. Supportive childcare environments for physical activity in the early years. Perth: The University of Western Australia, School of Population and Global Health.Google Scholar
  10. Cliff, K. P., Wright, J., & Clarke, D. (2009). What does a ‘sociocultural perspective’ mean in health and physical education? In M. D. Thompson (Ed.), Health and physical education: Issues for curriculum in Australia and New Zealand (pp. 165–182). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  12. Department for Children, Schools and Families. (2008). Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage: Setting the standards for learning, development and care for children from birth to five. Retrieved August 28, 2018, from https://grenfellactiongroup.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/statutoryframework.pdf.
  13. Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR). (2009). Belonging, being & becoming: The early years learning framework for Australia. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/belonging_being_and_becoming_the_early_years_learning_framework_for_australia.pdf.
  14. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. (2018). Singapore: Health risks. Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://smartraveller.gov.au/Countries/asia/south-east/Pages/singapore.aspx.
  15. Department of Statistics. (2018). Population & land area. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://www.singstat.gov.sg/statistics/latest-data#16.
  16. Douglas, I. (2012). Urban ecology and urban ecosystems: Understanding the links to human health and well-being. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4, 385–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Early Childhood Development Agency. (2006). Guidelines for centre-based infant/toddler care services. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://www.ecda.gov.sg/documents/ccls/Infant_Care_Guidelines.pdf.
  18. Early Childhood Development Agency. (2013). Early years development framework for child care centres. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from https://www.ecda.gov.sg/growatbeanstalk/Documents/EYDF%20eng_secured.pdf.
  19. Early Childhood Development Agency. (2015). Guide to setting up a child care centre. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://www.ecda.gov.sg/Documents/Resources/CCC_Guide.pdf.
  20. Early Childhood Development Agency. (2017). Statistics on child care centres statistics and reports. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://www.ecda.gov.sg/Documents/Resources/Statistics_on_child_care(STENT).pdf.
  21. Ebbeck, M., & Waniganayake, M. (Eds.). (2016). Play in early childhood education: Learning in diverse contexts (2nd edn.). South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Garmy, P., Clausson, E. K., Nyberg, P., & Jakobsson, U. (2018). Insufficient sleep is associated with obesity and excessive screen time amongst ten-year-old children in Sweden. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 39, e1–e5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Goodburn, C. (2015). Migrant girls in Shenzhen: Gender, education and the urbanization of aspiration. China Quarterly, 222, 320–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grigg, A. (2014). The wonder years: Inside China’s ‘cram schools’. Retrieved December 20, 2015, from http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/arts-and-entertainment/art/the-wonder-years-inside-chinas-cram-schools-20140307-ixmf3.
  25. Hills, A. P., Andersen, L. B., & Byrne, N. M. (2011). Physical activity and obesity in children. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 45, 866–870.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Johnson, B., & Christensen, L. (2012). Educational research: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  27. Karuppiah, N. (2015). Computer habits and behaviours among young children in Singapore. Early Child Development and Care, 185(3), 393–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kemple, K. M., Oh, J., Kenney, E., & Smith-Bonahue, T. (2016). The power of outdoor play and play in natural environments. Childhood Education, 92(6), 446–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Koh, B. H. (2015). The impact of technology on Singapore’s economy and living environment in 2065. In E. Quah (Ed.), Singapore 2065: Leading insights on economy and environment from 50 Singapore icons and beyond (pp. 119–122). Singapore: World Scientific.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kumar, R. (2014). Research methodology: A step-by-step guide for beginners (4th edn.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Lai, L. (2017). Singapore acts to nip problem in the bud. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/singapore-acts-to-nip-problem-in-the-bud.
  32. Lam, C.-C., & Tang, B. W.-Z. (2014). The quality and quantity of homework in Hong Kong primary schools: An indicator of curriculum reform implementation. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 9(1), 33–64.Google Scholar
  33. Little, H., & Wyver, S. (2008). Outdoor play: Does avoiding the risks reduce the benefits? Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 33(2), 33–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Little, H., Wyver, S., & Gibson, F. (2011). The influence of play context and adult attitudes on young children’s physical risk-taking during outdoor play. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 19(1), 113–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Lynch, T. (2017). Physically educated: Developing children’s health and wellbeing through movement and motor skills. In S. Garvis & D. Pendergast (Eds.), Health and wellbeing in childhood (2nd ed., pp. 77–94). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Martin, A. (2006). The relationship between teachers’ perceptions of student motivation and engagement and teachers’ enjoyment of and confidence in teaching. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 34(1), 73–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. McMurray, A. J., Pace, R. W., & Scott, D. (2004). Research: A commonsense approach. Southbank: Thomson Learning.Google Scholar
  38. Ministry of Education (2012). Nurturing early learners: A framework for a kindergarten curriculum in Singapore. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from https://www.nel.sg/nel/slot/u566/Resources/Downloadable/pdf/kindergarten-curriculum-framework.pdf.
  39. Narayana, M. R. (2010). Impact of economic globalization on urbanization. India Quarterly, 66(1), 91–116.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. NatCen Social Research, UCL. (2017). Health survey for England 2016: Children’s health. Retrieved December 13, 2018, from http://healthsurvey.hscic.gov.uk/media/63769/HSE2016-Child-health.pdf.
  41. National Environment Agency (2018). Dengue cases. Retrieved December 1, 2018, from https://www.nea.gov.sg/dengue-zika/dengue/dengue-cases.
  42. Nicolopoulou, A. (2010). The alarming disappearance of play from early childhood education. Human Development, 53, 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. NurtureSG Taskforce. (2017). NurtureSG: Action plan report. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://www.hpb.gov.sg/docs/default-source/default-document-library/nurturesg-action-plan-report.pdf?sfvrsn=460f572_0.
  44. Perren, A. M. (2010). The effect of a structured outdoor programme on the gross motor development of preschoolers. Australia: University of South Australia.Google Scholar
  45. Powers, J., & Ridge, S. W. (2018). Nature-based learning for young children: Anytime, anywhere, on any budget by us. St Paul: Redleaf Press.Google Scholar
  46. Robinson, S., Daly, R. M., Ridgers, N. D., & Salmon, J. (2015). Screen-based behaviors of children and cardiovascular risk factors. The Journal of Pediatrics, 167(6), 1239–1245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sandhu, B. (2017). Protect your child against diabetes. Retrieved April 1, 2018, from http://www.todayonline.com/lifestyle/your-child-risk-diabetes.
  48. Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE). (2015). Position statement: Comprehensive school physical activity programs: Helping all students log 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Retrieved December 1, 2018, from https://www.shapeamerica.org/advocacy/positionstatements/pa/upload/Comprehensive-School-Physical-Activity-Programs-Helping-All-Students-Log-60-Minutes-of-Physical-Activity-Eeach-Day.pdf.
  49. Söderström, M., Boldemann, C., Sahlin, U., Mårtensson, F., Raustorp, A., & Blennow, M. (2013). The quality of the outdoor environment influences childrens health—A cross-sectional study of preschools. Acta Paediatrica, 102(1), 83–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Tam, V. C., & Chan, R. M. (2009). Parental involvement in primary children’s homework in Hong Kong. School Community Journal, 19(2), 81–100.Google Scholar
  51. Tan, S., & Hamzah, A. (2018). Singapore a good country to raise kids, but maybe not the best. Retrieved December 2, 2018, from https://www.savethechildren.org/content/dam/usa/reports/emergency-response/end-of-childhood-report.PDF.
  52. The Department of Health (2017). Australian 24-hour movement guidelines for the early years (birth to 5 years): An integration of physical activity, sedentary behaviour, and sleep. Retrieved June 4, 2018, from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/npra-0-5yrs-brochure.
  53. Thelen, E., & Smith, L. B. (1994). A dynamic systems approach to the development of cognition and action. Cambridge: Bradford/MIT Press.Google Scholar
  54. Thigpen, B. (2007). Outdoor play: Combating sedentary lifestyles. Zero to Three, 28(1), 19–23.Google Scholar
  55. Townsend, N., Wickramasinghe, K., Williams, J., Bhatnagar, P., & Rayner, M. (2015). Physical activity statistics 2015. London: British Heart Foundation.Google Scholar
  56. Tremblay, M. S., Gray, C., Babcock, S., Barnes, J., Bradstreet, C. C., Carr, D., et al. (2015). Position statement on active outdoor play. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12, 6475–6505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Physical activity guidelines for Americans (2nd edn.). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Google Scholar
  58. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (Population Division). (2014). World urbanization prospects. Retrieved December 20, 2015, from http://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/Highlights/WUP2014-Highlights.pdf.
  59. World Health Organisation. (2010). Urbanization and health. Retrieved December 20, 2015, from http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/88/4/10-010410.pdf.
  60. World Health Organisation. (2018). Physical activity. Retrieved December 1, 2018, from https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity.
  61. Yim, H. Y. B., & Lee, L. W. M. (2016). Urban play spaces for children. In M. Ebbeck & M. Waniganayake (Eds.), Play in early childhood education: Learning in diverse contexts (2nd edn., pp. 250–269). Docklands: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  62. Yim, H. Y. B., Lee, L. W. M., & Ebbeck, M. (2010). Play and cultural transition: Immigrant children living in Hong Kong. In M. Ebbeck & M. Waniganayake (Eds.), Children’s play in early childhood education: Facilitating learning in diverse contexts (pp. 254–269). Docklands: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  63. Young, T., & Elliott, S. (2013). Rethinking outdoor learning environments. National Quality Standard, Professional Learning Program e-Newsletter, 59, 1–4.Google Scholar
  64. Zhang, Y. X., Zhao, J. S., & Chu, Z. H. (2014). Prevalence of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents is associated with urbanization in Shandong, China. International Journal of Cardiology, 176(3), 1212–1213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia
  3. 3.SEED Institute Pte LtdSingaporeSingapore

Personalised recommendations