family child care homes;play behavior;childhood development
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Early Education & Development
The use of retreat spaces by 65 children in 9 family child care homes was assessed in this study. Family child care providers used daily diaries to collect information about children’s retreat frequency and associated behavior. The findings revealed that nearly half of the children used informal, readily available retreats during the research period. Playing with toys was the most frequent and stable retreat activity across age groups. Yet the number of passive and engaged behaviors varied based on child characteristics such as age, gender, and child’s mood for the day. Retreat use can be viewed as a potentially adaptive environmental strategy that children apply as their needs change in a given day and from one developmental period to the next. Thus, it is recommended that child care professionals provide access to retreats and support children’s varied use of retreat space.