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Early childhood educators’ perspectives on tree climbing

Tree climbing is one aspect of nature play; however, it is limited in many areas due to fear of liability, heightened safety awareness, unclear policies, accessibility, and restrictive outdoor play time. This study investigated current practices concerning tree climbing in early childhood settings with the objective of creating recommendations, best practices, and a tool kit for incorporating tree climbing in a safe way in early childhood settings in the United States. The study used a convenience sampling technique to investigate practices and concerns around tree climbing in early childhood settings, ages two years through eight years of age. An online survey instrument was disseminated via social media platforms examining background and demographic information, tree climbing policies, rules, injuries, safety, and guidelines within early education settings with 415 qualifying respondents. The data concluded that 41.7% of early childhood educators in the United States responding to the study do not allow tree climbing due to perceptions surrounding accessibility, fear, liability, licensing, and danger. The data from 58.3% of respondents who do allow tree climbing concluded that tree climbing in early childhood settings can be safely and effectively implemented. The results suggested low injury rates, high percentage of rules surrounding tree climbing, parental concerns, and issues surrounding accessibility, liability, and licensing. (author abstract)
Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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