Looking inside and out: perceptions of physical activity in childcare spaces

Document Type



physical activity; childcare; environment

Identifier Data



Taylor and Francis Online

Publication Source

Early Child Development and Care


This study addresses the need to better understand how providers' perceptions of indoor and outdoor childcare settings can set the stage for arranging play spaces to optimise children's moderate-to-vigorous physical play. Childcare providers' perceptions of the level of physical activity, safety, and quality that children experience in childcare settings were examined. Childcare providers rated coloured photographs of indoor and outdoor childcare centres and family childcare homes. The providers rated higher levels of physical activity outdoors as compared with indoors and in childcare centres as compared with family childcare homes. When asked to select specific features of the childcare settings that contributed to their physical activity, safety, and quality ratings, open space was frequently selected, among other features. The findings also suggest that prior provider training on physical activity promotion results in providers' greater sensitivity when critiquing the physical environment.