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The Effect of Physical Activity During Outdoor Play on Children's On-Task Behavior During Group Time


Principal Investigator: Allison Lundy
Faculty Mentor: Jeffrey Trawick-Smith

The purpose of this investigation is to determine differences in children’s on task behavior during group time before and after engaging in physical activity during outdoor play. Children who engage in the greatest levels of physical activity during outdoor play may demonstrate strong on-task behaviors during group time than those who display lower levels of physical activity. A pre-observation of on-task behavior will be conducted. Two group time activities prior to outdoor play will be observed in each participating classroom. Each child’s on-task behavior will be coded every two minutes, for a total of five assessments. All participants in both classrooms will then be provided with a special, hour-long outdoor play period prior to regular, planning indoor group time. On each of these two play sessions, children be observed during outdoor play. Each child’s level of physical activity will be coded every two minutes for a total of five assessments.  Immediately following outdoor play, children will be observed in the classroom participating in group time activities. Each child’s on-task behavior will again be coded every two minutes for a total of five assessments.

This research was partially funded by the Jeffrey and Nancy Trawick-Smith Early Childhood Undergraduate Research Award.

Publication: Lundy, A. & Trawick-Smith, J. (2020). Effects of active outdoor play on preschool children’s on-task classroom behavior. Early Childhood Education Journal.

Video: Allison discusses what she learned from her study in a student reflection.

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