Outdoor environment for children below 3 years in Japanese early childhood care centers: Focusing on practices and views related to risky experiences

Tsujitani Machiko, Akita Kiyomi, Miyamoto Yuta, Ishida Kaori, Miyata Mariko
page. 47~71 / 2023 Vol.17 No.3


This study attempted to explore outdoor environments in early childhood education and care centers and the views of practitioners regarding support provided to children below 3 years of age with respect to experiencing risky situations. A survey of 1,167 centers with their own outdoor environments in Japan was conducted. Questions about outdoor environments and practitioners’ thoughts and practices revealed two points. First, the centers lack environments where the children are provided opportunities such as outdoor spaces; areas of different elevations, such as hills and slopes; and places where they can enjoy using their sense of touch to feel different materials such as water and plants. Second, practitioners valued a variety of experiences, such as minor risks, injuries, mistakes, and fear, for nurturing children’s ability to avoid danger and to protect themselves from potential dangers, although they did not value and generally avoided negative emotions, sensations, and experiences. Further research can explore the relationship between such views about risk experiences and actual practices, a topic of discussion among early childhood care and education practitioners.

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