Findings 4.1 Baseline questionnaires - Parents




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4. Findings

4.1 Baseline questionnaires - Parents

The data gathered from the baseline questionnaires, regarding outdoor learning have shown that most of the parents/carers (71,4%) strongly agree that learning in the outdoors should be an important part of children’s education.

When it comes to how regular children should have access to outdoor learning experiences the 38% of the parents stated that they agree with this statement and 43% of the parents strongly agree. According to the access to the local outdoors, 62% of the parents stated that they strongly agree that accessing the outdoors is an important aspect of the child development.

The parents/carers have been asked to state whether there are outdoor spaces in the local area that their child or children have access to. Almost half of the subjects (43%) strongly agreed with this statement and 24% agreed. The 28,6 % of the subjects remained neutral in their statement (either agree or disagree) and two of the parents stated that they disagree. The participants who have either answered that they disagree or strongly disagree with the statement that in the local area there are outdoor spaces that their child/ children can have access to, have been asked to provide reasons that do not facilitate the access to the local outdoor spaces. Their answers expressed were related to the following areas:



  • cleanliness, tidiness of the local outdoor spaces,

  • outdoor “events” are not allowed in the area,

  • only playgrounds are suitable for outdoor activities,

  • the idea of children not allowed to play outdoors is interpreted as a stranger danger issue,

  • lack of a variety of outdoor experiences.

Parental reluctance in allowing their children to access the local outdoors is an issue addressed in the Play strategy for Scotland. As outlined, avoiding the outdoors because of fear of traffic, concerns of personal safety or even the weather can impact on opportunities to play. Fears for children’s safety have at times resulted in restricted access to outdoor play. While the risks are real, the perception of them is often higher than the reality and should be balanced against the benefits of outdoor play. We know that learning to deal with challenges will help build children’s resilience into adult life (Play strategy for Scotland, 2013).

The data gathered in the first two parts of the questionnaire regarding the outdoor experiences and access to the local outdoor spaces have shown that the parents demonstrate a positive disposition towards their children experiencing learning outdoors or that they consider being outdoors an important element of their development. It is interesting to mention that the parents appear to appreciate the benefits of the exposure to the outdoors, despite that the fact they are not aware of the term of the “nature deficit disorder” and its implications. The next part of the baseline questionnaire has shown an inconsistency between the parents/carers’ disposition towards the outdoor local spaces and the frequency in which their children access the local outdoors. Almost a 30% of the parents strongly agree that their children access local outdoor spaces frequently, another 30% agrees with this statement and a 40% of the participants has remained neutral (either agree or disagree). Also, a 57 % of the parents have stated that their children have access to local outdoor spaces once a week and 24% daily. When it comes to sustainability most parents have remained neutral when asked whether they know what the term of sustainability covers and what the learning for sustainability covers. Despite this fact, 38% of the parents have expressed that they agree that access to the local outdoor spaces can promote their child’s learning for sustainability, whereas 33 % remained neutral. Little, Wyver & Gibson (2011) express that according to parents’ perceptions, factors in the environment limit opportunities for outdoor play and consequently challenging play. Also, they identified environmental hazards such as poorly maintained equipment or dangerous objects when it came to playground areas. Stranger danger was identified as a barrier (Little, Wyver & Gibson, 2011). According to Bento & Dias (2017), a way of supporting parents or carers to overcome potential fears or anxieties is the reassurance of the use of proper equipment for different weather conditions.





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Findings 4.1 Baseline questionnaires - Parents

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