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Understanding Threats to Young Children’s Green Space Access in Unlicensed Daycare Centers in Japan

1
FEAST Project, Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, 603-8047, Japan
2
Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University, Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1948; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061948
Received: 14 February 2020 / Revised: 13 March 2020 / Accepted: 13 March 2020 / Published: 16 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Children's Health)
Access to green space (GS) is vital for children’s health and development, including during daycare. In Japan, deregulation to alleviate daycare shortages has created a new category of so-called unlicensed daycare centers (UDCs) that often lack dedicated GS. UDCs rely on surrounding GS, including parks, temples and university grounds, but reports of conflicts highlight the precarity of children’s well-being in a rapidly aging country. Knowledge about GS access in Japanese UDCs remains scarce. Our mail-back survey (n = 173) of UDCs and online survey (n = 3645) of parents investigated threats to GS access during daycare across 14 Japanese cities. Results suggest that UDCs use a variety of GS and aim to provide daily access. Caregivers are vital in mediating children’s access, but locally available GS diversity, quality and quantity as well as institutional support were perceived as lacking. Parents did not rank GS high among their priorities when selecting daycare providers, and showed limited awareness of conflicts during GS visits. Implications of this study include the need for caregivers and parents to communicate and collaborate to improve GS access, and the importance of strong public investment into holistically improving GS diversity, quality and quantity from the perspective of public health and urban planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: greenspace; outdoor play; development; health; environmental justice; East Asia; urban planning; nursery school; kindergarten; 認可外保育施設 greenspace; outdoor play; development; health; environmental justice; East Asia; urban planning; nursery school; kindergarten; 認可外保育施設
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Rupprecht, C.D.D.; Cui, L. Understanding Threats to Young Children’s Green Space Access in Unlicensed Daycare Centers in Japan. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1948.

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