Title

Exploring the home as a just-right environment for play occupations

Start Time

4-10-2012 8:00 PM

End Time

4-10-2012 9:30 PM

Session Type

Event

Abstract

PURPOSE: Studies have identified the need for children to access a variety of play environments that provide adequate challenge, but also include places that are private, social or imaginary (A. Clark, 2007). In comparison, little is known about infants’ needs in relation to play environments, and specifically on the role of the physical environment in understanding play occupations (Pierce, 2009). The purpose of this poster is to present research that explored the physical environment as it shaped infant play occupations in the home.

RESEARCH METHODS: A qualitative ethnographic approach was employed to gather data on five infants, two new-borns and three one-year olds, and their families over twelve months between September 2009 and October 2010. Data was generated through video, interview and observations of the infants engaging in play with typical objects, in their natural home environments. Families were visited monthly to capture change in infant-environment transactions over time. Analysis focused on identifying and describing affordances of the environment as observed through typical play events in the home. Videos were analysed using a micro-analytical approach to study critical events from month to month for each infant.

FINDINGS: Through an analysis of affordances and transactions, infant space play was described as it developed over time. Infants were observed to play with space as a play partner, which was characterised by phases of stationary play, floor play, platform play and mobile play. Infant space play was influenced by availability, variety and complexity of spaces, which was further influenced by the social environment: by parents who commonly orchestrated play for the infant. Analysis indentified that infants in the study demonstrated different paths of development, reflecting the embedded and embodied nature of infancy when family contexts and child characteristics are taken into account (Adolf & Berger, 2006). Given these findings in relation to the specific nature of infant-environment transactions, the environment can be construed as A just-right environment, as there is no one universal environment, but instead one that specifically meets the needs for a given child in a given context. A just-right environment takes a three-dimensional view of optimal play environments that includes transactions between the infant, the physical environment and the social environment.

Author’s objectives for the poster submission presentation:

  1. To present ideas on viewing the physical environment from an occupational perspective of infant space play
  2. To consider for discussion-how do we name and conceptualise the spaces used by infants and toddlers and the nature of infant play?
  3. To present findings on infant space play through the use of the use of photographs to analyse play occupations of infants.

References

Adolf, K., & Berger, S. (2006). Motor development. In D. Kuhn & R. Siegler (Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology: cognition, perception, and language (6 ed., pp. 161-213). New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Clark, A. (2007). Views from inside the shed: young children's perspectives of the outdoor environment. Education 3-13, 35(4), 349-363. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03004270701602483

Pierce, D. (2009). Co-occupation: the challenge of defining concepts original to occupational science. Journal of Occupational Science, 16(3), 203-207. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2009.9686663

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Oct 4th, 8:00 PM Oct 4th, 9:30 PM

Exploring the home as a just-right environment for play occupations

PURPOSE: Studies have identified the need for children to access a variety of play environments that provide adequate challenge, but also include places that are private, social or imaginary (A. Clark, 2007). In comparison, little is known about infants’ needs in relation to play environments, and specifically on the role of the physical environment in understanding play occupations (Pierce, 2009). The purpose of this poster is to present research that explored the physical environment as it shaped infant play occupations in the home.

RESEARCH METHODS: A qualitative ethnographic approach was employed to gather data on five infants, two new-borns and three one-year olds, and their families over twelve months between September 2009 and October 2010. Data was generated through video, interview and observations of the infants engaging in play with typical objects, in their natural home environments. Families were visited monthly to capture change in infant-environment transactions over time. Analysis focused on identifying and describing affordances of the environment as observed through typical play events in the home. Videos were analysed using a micro-analytical approach to study critical events from month to month for each infant.

FINDINGS: Through an analysis of affordances and transactions, infant space play was described as it developed over time. Infants were observed to play with space as a play partner, which was characterised by phases of stationary play, floor play, platform play and mobile play. Infant space play was influenced by availability, variety and complexity of spaces, which was further influenced by the social environment: by parents who commonly orchestrated play for the infant. Analysis indentified that infants in the study demonstrated different paths of development, reflecting the embedded and embodied nature of infancy when family contexts and child characteristics are taken into account (Adolf & Berger, 2006). Given these findings in relation to the specific nature of infant-environment transactions, the environment can be construed as A just-right environment, as there is no one universal environment, but instead one that specifically meets the needs for a given child in a given context. A just-right environment takes a three-dimensional view of optimal play environments that includes transactions between the infant, the physical environment and the social environment.

Author’s objectives for the poster submission presentation:

  1. To present ideas on viewing the physical environment from an occupational perspective of infant space play
  2. To consider for discussion-how do we name and conceptualise the spaces used by infants and toddlers and the nature of infant play?
  3. To present findings on infant space play through the use of the use of photographs to analyse play occupations of infants.