Children's Gendered Use of School Grounds: The Role of the Physical Environment
Source TitleInforming education theory, design and practice through learning environment evaluation
Informing education theory, design and practice through learning environment evaluation
PublisherLEaRN, University of Melbourne
AffiliationArchitecture, Building and Planning
Melbourne Graduate School of Education
Document TypeConference Proceeding
CitationsAminpour, F. (2016). Children's Gendered Use of School Grounds: The Role of the Physical Environment. LEaRN, University of Melbourne
Access StatusOpen Access
ARC Grant codeARC/LP130100880
School grounds are increasingly valued for the freedom of choice they give children for operating their preferred activities. However, the physical characteristics of these places appear to provide unequal opportunities for boys and girls. This study shows that school grounds are mostly qualified for certain types of activities which are more of boys’ interest and their activities can constrain girls’ use. It explores the physical characteristics which can alleviate the negative impact of boys’ activities on girls’ and provide more opportunities for girls to use and explore the environment. Three methods have been applied in this multi-case qualitative study involving three Australian schools: (a) behaviour mapping of school grounds during the recess and lunch time period; (b) walking tours guided by children around the school grounds; and (c) focus groups of 3-5 children in each school. The results outline three main themes which centre on the physical characteristics of school grounds: (a) the design of enclosed spaces; (b) the organisation of multiple activity settings facilitated by the spatial arrangement of school buildings; and (c) incorporating natural environments in the design of school grounds. The discussion argues that these physical environments need to be valued in the design of school grounds because they can provide girls with more freedom of choice to get engaged in their preferred activities.
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