Characteristics of staff–child interaction in 1–3-year-olds’ risky play in early childhood education and care


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Taylor & Francis

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Despite increased interest in children’s risk-taking in play, little is known of this aspect considering children under three years. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the concept of scaffolding to potentially describe patterns in staff–child interaction in 1–3-year-olds’ risky play. Empirical data were taken from an exploratory study, executed as a focused ethnography with multiple data collecting techniques, resulting in a sample of 198 instances of risky play. Findings indicate that scaffolding is a pertinent theoretical foundation for describing high-quality staff–child interaction in risky play, leading to increased opportunities for developmentally appropriate stimulation. Of the 171 instances where staff were present, staff did not interact at all in 70 of the instances (41%). Staff–child interaction, directly related to children’s risky play, occurred in the remaining 101 instances. Of these 101 instances, ‘Scaffolding’- and ‘Non-scaffolding’-interaction were observed in 78% and 22% of the instances, respectively. Implications are discussed.




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