UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

(Re)considering (risky) play in a Canadian early childhood context Walters, Melanie


Early childhood settings bring forth much complexity. This particular Canadian research study discussed the phenomenon of risky play in its conceptualized form (Sandseter, 2007), as a socially constructed and contested idea, and as a complex topic for reconsideration in young children’s play. Dominant discourses of safety surrounding early childhood praxis initiated this deep inquiry into risky play. Through this study, the researcher’s intention was to more clearly describe the essence of children’s play desires, their abilities to assess danger, their perceptions regarding their risky play adventures, and to introduce new ways to (re)consider (risky) play. The research took place in a large western Canadian city at a mixed age early childhood center inquiring into their particular co-created context of risky play. Using a phenomenological approach to interpretive research, the study involved introspective accounts of reconceptualized praxis in early childhood education from the researcher’s critically reflective lens in her role as an educator. Introspective pedagogical narrations involving a small group of children between four and five years of age illuminated emerging themes of children’s play interests and their fascinating lived experience perspectives involving risky play. The narrations created marvelous moments to ponder and to question further. Through these narrations, the study found that these young children were incredibly capable, strong, confident, curious, creative, persistent, imaginative and intuitive. The study also brought forth provocative ideas of materials relations to consider. This research offers multiple deeply introspective and phenomenological understandings of risky play; inviting (re)consideration of (risky) play through alternate perspectives.

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