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Title: Empowering the senses outside: an intervention project on peer relationships in a daycare center
Authors: Conrado, Maria
Pinheiro, Ana
Keywords: Brincar ao ar livre
Educação de infância -- 3-6 anos
Issue Date: 2023
Publisher: IATED Academy
Citation: Conrado, M. & Pinheiro, A. (2023). Empowering the senses outside: an intervention project on peer relationships in a daycare center. In 16th ICERI2023 Proceedings, (pp.3259-3268). IATED Academy.
Abstract: Outdoor spaces benefit children at different levels by promoting a healthy and balanced development. When we think of senses and sensations, these are directly linked to spaces and materials/resources. "Outdoor spaces can be seen as contexts rich in sensory opportunities, providing different smells, textures, sounds, temperatures, landscapes, etc." (Portugal, 2016, p.28), always associated with a responsive educator and learning booster, allowing "the possibility to feel the wind hitting the face and hear the leaves of the trees moving, to see the birds flying or people passing in the street (...)" (Portugal, 2016, p.28). Based on the theoretical framework and the observation made during the diagnosis period, we built a methodological design with a qualitative nature whose main objective is to understand the children's needs and understand how an outdoor space can be sensorially enhanced with resources and fostering peer relationships. The study is developed with a group of twelve two-year-old children. The cultural environment surrounding these children is a fishing town, Caniçal, in Madeira Island. We understood that the best data collection tool to support the work would be Observation. Participant observation was therefore the most obvious strategy, as "in the early days (...) the researcher usually stays a little on the outside, waiting to be observed and accepted. As relationships develop, he/she will participate more" (Bogdan & Biklen, 1994, p.125). To organise the data/evidence collection, we defined a set of dimensions of analysis that emerged on the one hand from the readings and the theoretical framework, and on the other hand emerged during the intervention period: intentionality of the early childhood educator; spaces and materials; interactions between children; team involvement. From the beginning of the process, permission was requested from parents to safeguard ethical issues. As May tells us "The development and application of research ethics is required not only to maintain public confidence and attempt to protect individuals and groups from illegitimate use of research findings, but also to ensure their status as a legitimate and valid enterprise" (May, 2004, p.84). In the data collection period, acronyms were used to code each child respecting the anonymity of each child involved. In parallel, the need for the child's informed consent was also considered (ERIC, 2023). Aware that the children in question are young, throughout the research period we asked the children if we could take images. The collection of evidence from the intervention allowed us to implement strategies that promoted the child's agency resulting in the emergence of dynamics decided and organized by the children, an aspect explained extensively in the article. The enrichment of the outdoor space, as well as the availability of sensory materials that could integrate the spaces permanently, allowed the replication and organization of emerging experiences by the children autonomously. We also noticed that the project brought concrete evidence of a significant improvement in the relationships between pairs and in small groups. If at first the children were only running freely in the outdoor space, playing alone, seeking the adult as a pillar and security, during the intervention and afterwards we could see that they were interacting with each other, trying to create dialogues, playing in pairs and in small groups. Keywords: Children, outdoor activities, peer interactions, senses.
Peer reviewed: yes
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Appears in Collections:Conferências: comunicações, artigos publicados em Atas

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