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Open AccessArticle

Designing Activating Schoolyards: Seen from the Girls’ Viewpoint

Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood, Victoria 3125, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3508;
Received: 9 August 2019 / Revised: 17 September 2019 / Accepted: 18 September 2019 / Published: 20 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Healthy Lifestyle)
Girls are typically less active in the schoolyard during recess than boys. It is therefore necessary to understand influences on girls’ recess activity in schoolyards. The aim of this qualitative study was to investigate girls’ perceptions of physical environmental factors influencing recess physical activity in re-designed schoolyards and to compare the perceptions of girls from different age groups. In 2018, 50 girls from five Danish schools were interviewed using photo-elicitation. The girls were from Grade 4 (n = 28, age 10–11) and Grade 6 (n = 22, age 12–13). Data were analysed using pen profiles constructed from verbatim transcripts. Ten factors emerged: variety, accessibility, size, designated spaces, greenery, playground markings, active play facilities, sports facilities, play equipment, and speakers. Play facilities (trampolines, obstacle courses, dancing and gymnastic appliances) were favoured over traditional sport facilities. Designated spaces, greenery and speakers were important for feeling comfortable within the schoolyard. Although similar factors were raised by the two age groups, some factors were perceived as enablers by the youngest and as barriers by the oldest girls, highlighting the complexity of designing schoolyards that cater to all ages. A greater understanding of how different designs and facilities may be perceived by girls of different ages is important for the design of future schoolyards. View Full-Text
Keywords: recess physical activity; girls; schoolyard renovation; re-design; photo-elicitation interview; pen profile recess physical activity; girls; schoolyard renovation; re-design; photo-elicitation interview; pen profile
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Pawlowski, C.S.; Veitch, J.; Andersen, H.B.; Ridgers, N.D. Designing Activating Schoolyards: Seen from the Girls’ Viewpoint. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 3508.

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