UBC Graduate Research

Using pedagogical document to build early childhood educator capacity to support children's outdoor play experiences Hatten, Cheryl


In this capstone project, I explore using pedagogical documentation to build ECE educator capacity to support children’s outdoor play experiences. Outdoor play experiences are declining, and this is a source for numerous physical and emotional health concerns. Research indicates unstructured play, and in particular, outdoor risky play, has numerous benefits, including increased social opportunities, increased activity levels, and positive mental and physical health outcomes. ECE educators are in a position to promote opportunities for children’s outdoor play experiences; however, many educators are unsure of their role and may require further education to discover how to support such experiences. In this project, I address the following questions (1) In what ways can ECE educators transform their understanding of the philosophy behind outdoor play into their daily practices? And (2) In what ways can the use of pedagogical documentation support ECE educators as they develop strategies for supporting children’s outdoor play experiences? I draw on social constructivism, and Vygotsky’s notion of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) to explore learning as a social process occurring within a social context. I explore pedagogical documentation as professional development, reflective practice, and a means to promote theory-practice transfer. In connecting the review of this literature with practice, I developed an Outdoor play Support Plan for use with in-service ECE educators with content related to outdoor play benefits and delivered using pedagogical documentation principles. Based on the findings of this review, I recommend further study on the benefits of pedagogical documentation for both pre- and in-service ECE educators.

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