A Novel Data-driven Approach to Examine Children’s Movements and Social Behaviour in Schoolyard Environments
1.1. Affordances and Effectivities in Physical, Social, and Cultural Environments in Schoolyards
- For the purposes of our research, we distinguish between three levels of affordances:
- Physical affordances: what the physical layout and features of the schoolyard afford to children and their activities. These are critical for many vulnerable children, to the extent that they may even exclude themselves from what takes place in the schoolyard. For example, what most humans tolerate as mild background noise can be insufferable to children with cochlear implants, who, consequently, tend to refrain from entering schoolyard areas where exposed to such noise [30,31].
- Social affordances: these refer to two complementary matters:
- What features in the schoolyard afford social interaction, i.e., social interactions in our case, should be accommodated and facilitated by the environment. For example, having a chat with a classmate requires some sitting furniture in a quiet part of the schoolyard. This involves not only the need for a suitable environment for social interactions but also the features in the environment that stimulate social interactions (such as the presence of a seesaw, which invites play with another child).
- How the presence of others adds to or detracts from the affordances of the physical environment. For example, if a swing is already occupied by another person, then the child is unable to sit on it. However, a new affordance becomes available: for example, pushing the person sitting on the swing.
- Cultural affordances: free play and schoolyard use are normally subject to constraints, where, for example, some intensive or hazardous activities (such as football or cycling) are allowed only in certain parts of the schoolyard, or for a specific period of time.
1.2. Present Study
2.4. Validation of Measures Obtained through Sensor Techniques
2.5. Variables and Measures
2.5.1. GPS Loggers
- Trajectories of children contained the longitude and latitude of movements, through which the speed of movements was calculated (speed = displacements over time).
- A kernel density estimate (KDE) estimated the distribution of GPS locations in a playgroup and assessed the most visited areas.
2.5.2. Proximity Tags
- Spatial contacts were calculated by taking the face-to-face contacts from the proximity tag and fusing it with GPS locations. This gave crucial information on where contacts took place in the schoolyard.
2.5.3. MMR sensors
- Spatial Activity Level is determined based on cut-off points proposed by Puyau et al. , who validated accelerometer-based activity against energy expenditure (EE) in children within a 15-second time frame. We were able to adopt Puyau’s setpoints because: (1) The average participants' age was similar to our study (6–16 years old), (2) The activities performed in the validation study were the same as children’s activities in the schoolyard (walk, run, free-living activities such as computer games, playing with toys, aerobics, skipping, jump rope, soccer). This variable was date- and time-matched to each 1-second GPS data point to obtain how the activity level was related to environmental features and physical affordances.
3.1. Physical Affordances
3.2. Social Affordances
3.3. Cultural Affordances
4. Discussion & Conclusions
4.1. Limitations and Future Directions
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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Nasri, M.; Tsou, Y.-T.; Koutamanis, A.; Baratchi, M.; Giest, S.; Reidsma, D.; Rieffe, C. A Novel Data-driven Approach to Examine Children’s Movements and Social Behaviour in Schoolyard Environments. Children 2022, 9, 1177. https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081177
Nasri M, Tsou Y-T, Koutamanis A, Baratchi M, Giest S, Reidsma D, Rieffe C. A Novel Data-driven Approach to Examine Children’s Movements and Social Behaviour in Schoolyard Environments. Children. 2022; 9(8):1177. https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081177Chicago/Turabian Style
Nasri, Maedeh, Yung-Ting Tsou, Alexander Koutamanis, Mitra Baratchi, Sarah Giest, Dennis Reidsma, and Carolien Rieffe. 2022. "A Novel Data-driven Approach to Examine Children’s Movements and Social Behaviour in Schoolyard Environments" Children 9, no. 8: 1177. https://doi.org/10.3390/children9081177