UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Daycare environments : a prescription for change Morris, Margaret N.


Using methods derived from post occupancy evaluation and ethnography, the visual and physical environmental characteristics of eighteen daycare centres were studied and inventorized. The attitudes, perceptions and ideologies of the directors and staffs to these learning environments and arts activities were also ascertained. The centres were located in Edmonton, Alberta, and both private and public centres were studied. The children attending these centres came from diverse cultural and economic backgrounds. The characteristics were recorded in an informal manner, through field notes, photographs and a pre-coded checklist which rated the quality of the items. From this, three subcategories of quality were derived; standard, below standard and above standard. The descriptive data indicated that the majority of the components of the centres constitute a standard quality, that centres have hard, institutional like qualities and that adult standards predominate. Analysis of 38 questionnaires returned from the directors and staff of the centres and evidence from the data and descriptive material, revealed there was a significant lack of knowledge or concern for the child's intrinsic needs, and the role of the visual and physical environment in learning. Their concern within the the learning environment was primarily for the physical aspects and changes to those aspects and arts activities were made according to adult standards. Apparent in the data was an adult product oriented approach to arts activities. What is recommended in this study is the need for early childhood educators to recognize the importance of the visual and physical environment to learning, and the role arts activities play in the total development of a pre-school child. Further recommendations include the investigation of training programmes for day care personnel, and the development of, through co-operation with arts educators, artists and architects, environmental alternatives for learning.

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