Transitional Space and Preschool Children's Play & Learning Behavior in Childcare Environment
Research shows that the built environment influences children's behavior. A number of previous studies indicate that the indoor environment, as well as the outdoors, motivates children's activities. However, very few, if not any, empirical studies exist on the relationship between in between transitional space and children's behavior. Transitional space is defined by the interrelation between the indoors and the outdoors and is often described as an important space for children by researchers, educators and designers. This paper describes the methodology of a research design which aims at examining the claim of the importance of transitional space in children's lives with empirical evidence. Case study research will be conducted in childcare settings on preschool age (3-5 years) children. The study will employ Behavioral Mapping as its primary data collection method and compare behavioral variances between indoor, outdoor and the transitional environment. Behavioral mapping provides the unique opportunity of measuring actual use of a site and capable of providing data for understanding the usage pattern of a space. It is, in fact, the only instrument which can make behavior visible in the context of a physical environment. Play and learning are the two observable behaviors of children in this study which are taken into account as dependent/measured variables. Visual analysis and statistical analysis of data gathered by behavioral mapping will be corroborated by qualitative questionnaire data analysis. It is expected that findings of this research will demonstrate the value of transitional space for influencing certain play and learning behavior among children, which are restricted to or limited in indoor or outdoor environments. It is also assumed that the methodology described in this research will depict the ways of defining and measuring transitional space variables which are crucial from the perspectives of children's usage. Aim of this research is to influence design awareness and design policy for childcare environment.
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