Investigation of 5-year-old preschool children’s biophilia and children’s and their mothers’ outdoor setting preferences

Yılmaz, Simge
The purpose of this study is to investigate 5-year-old preschool children’s biophilia (affinity toward nature) and children’s and their mothers’ landscape preferences. Children’s and mothers’ landscape preferences are identified by exploring their personal landscape preferences, educational landscape preferences, and the landscapes they would like to visit together. The main sample of this study includes 105 children who are randomly selected from four different preschools. These four preschools are coded as ‘natural preschool’ and ‘non-natural preschool’ based on the features of their outdoor environments and the use of such areas. The sub-samples of the study include 20 children and their mothers. Mixed method research strategies, particularly, concurrent triangulation design, are utilized for the current study. The data collecting tools were biophilia measure, which was implemented to the main sample, and children and mothers’ landscape preferences questionnaires, which were implemented to the sub-samples. Biophilia measure is accompanied by a series of drawings, which are visuals of each item of the measure. Whereas the open-ended questions in children’s and mothers’ landscape preferences questionnaires were asked with the company of sixteen photographs, which represent four different types of outdoor settings (forest, park, water, open field/grassy area). The results of the study showed that the mean scores of children who enrolled different school types were high and differ by only a small margin. Children’s biophilia scores did not differ based on their school types and gender. According to the findings, children’s and mothers’ most preferred landscapes were water settings and parks. Forests, on the other hand, were the least favorite landscapes selected by both groups of the participants. While children mostly considered the affordances of a landscape in their most favorite landscape preferences, mothers focused on the aesthetic and relaxing features of a landscape. Both groups of the participants considered unstructured play opportunities as a most important factor affecting their selections of their educational landscape preferences, and landscape preferences they would like to visit together. The most important reason affecting children’s and mothers’ preferences of forest settings as their least preferences was related to safety concerns, which are mostly based on physical dangers in a landscape. Bad weather conditions, health problems, transportation problems, other things to do, and safety were reported by both groups of the participants as common barriers against visiting natural landscapes. Different from children, mothers also mentioned about scarcity of natural landscapes in urban cities, inconvenient natural places to go, and lack of time to visit natural landscapes as barriers preventing them to visit natural landscapes.
Citation Formats
S. Yılmaz, “Investigation of 5-year-old preschool children’s biophilia and children’s and their mothers’ outdoor setting preferences,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2017.