Factors that enable, or challenge teachers and centre managers to support safe risk-taking for young children in early childhood outdoor environments : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education (Early Years) at Massey University, Manawatū, Aotearoa New Zealand

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Massey University
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This qualitative research study investigated the factors that influence New Zealand early childhood teachers’ and centre managers’ perspectives and practices related to children’s risk-taking in the outdoor environment. The data collection methods included two phases; an online questionnaire with teachers and key informant interviews with three early childhood centre managers/head teachers. The data was analysed via thematic coding and reported under respective themes. Teachers and centre managers play a fundamental role in allowing children to engage in acts of risk-taking. This can be challenging as there are many factors that either enable or inhibit a teacher’s ability to support children to take safe risks. This study found that teachers and centre managers within Aotearoa New Zealand demonstrate a positive disposition towards risk-taking in the outdoors; however, their ability to promote safe risk-taking is fraught with tensions in relation to promoting risk while ensuring children are safe from harm. The main findings of the study are categorised into three sections; external factors that influence teachers’ perceptions, professional factors that influence teachers’ perceptions and the role of leadership.
Early childhood education -- Activity programs -- New Zealand, Early childhood education -- New Zealand -- Administration -- Decision-making, Early childhood teachers -- New Zealand -- Attitudes, Outdoor recreation for children -- New Zealand -- Safety measures, Play environments -- New Zealand -- Safety measures