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An exploratory study of parent’s and early childhood educator’s attitudes towards outdoor and risky play in the Irish context.


   Faculty of Science and Health

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  Ms MMB McBride  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

This is a Masters by Research project.

Supervisors: Ms. Majella McBride, Dr Karen Patton

Project Summary:

Unstructured self- directed play confers physical, cognitive and psychological benefits in childhood (Tremblay et al 2015). Outdoor play supports such outcomes more favourably than indoor environments (Bento and Dias 2017). Children’s physical activity levels increase outdoors (Gray et al 2015) as they explore their environment and engage in risky play (Kemple and Kenny 2016).

Pre-school children’s access to play experiences is controlled and managed by adults. However, increased emphasis on child safety and school readiness means that children may not gain sufficient access to outdoor and risky play (Pyle 2018). While research has focused on barriers and enablers to outdoor and risky play in Early Childhood Education and Care settings, such provision in the Irish context alongside parental influences remains underexplored. This study seeks to explore and compare parent’s and Early Years Educator’s attitudes to outdoor and risky play. The findings of this study may provide evidence to support the development of national policy and practice, future research and educational and support programmes for Early Years Educators and/or parents to enhance the provision of challenging yet safe outdoor environments for young children.

Candidate Qualifications/Requirements:

An Honours Degree graduate (or equivalent) with a minimum of a 2:1 award classification in any of the following disciplines: Early Childhood Education and Care, Psychology, Education, Outdoor Education, Health and Social Care or allied health professions.

Application Process

  1. To apply for this Masters by Research projects, please send your CV and cover letter to the [Email Address Removed] by 5:00pm, Thursday 9th June. Please include "MR.12" in the subject of the email.
  2. Candidates should hold or expect to hold at least an Honours Degree in a relevant discipline and meet the University’s English Language requirements (minimum IELTS Level 6.5 or equivalent)
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